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One in five people immunised against inFLUenza

News release


13 July 2006

One in five people immunised against inFLUenza in Lakes district

Thirty percent more people received the inFLUenza vaccine in the Lakes district this year (19,880) compared to 2005 (15,149), according to recent figures from the National Influenza Strategy Group. This means 20% of the total Lakes population region are protected against influenza.

“This is a great result. People seem to be getting the message that immunisation works and is still their best protection from this serious disease,” says Bay of Plenty Medical Officer of Health Dr Phil Shoemack. “However, the remaining 80% of the population are not protected – but there is still time to get vaccinated through your local GP.”

Dr Phil Shoemack says with winter well underway, most people will have heard about, or know someone who has suffered inFLUenza already.

“The term ‘flu’ is used too casually and often confused with the common cold,” he says. “One hundred New Zealanders die from inFLUenza every year – it’s serious. If you have inFLUenza, you won’t be at work with a sniffle, it could mean you are bedridden for up to three weeks with fever, aches and pains, sore throat, cough and loss of appetite.”

While the free campaign for people aged 65 and over, or people of any age who have a long-term health condition such as heart disease, diabetes or chronic asthma came to a close 30 June - the vaccine is still available to everyone. Dr Phil Shoemack advises people to book an appointment with their GP and get immunised.

“People also need to remember to keep at least one metre away from anyone who is sick and remember to wash their hands thoroughly after eating, sneezing, using the toilet and blowing the nose,” he says.

It costs approximately $25 to get vaccinated against inFLUenza. According to the World Health Organisation the two vaccines, Vaxigroup and Fluvax, are expected to give the best protection against the strains of inFLUenza most likely to be circulating in New Zealand during winter.

ENDS

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