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The Asthma Foundation says get your flu jab now!

15 March 2012

Keep yourself well this winter. If you have asthma or another respiratory condition - get your free flu vaccine now

The Asthma Foundation is strongly advising people with respiratory illnesses to ring their GP’s surgery about a free influenza vaccination now.

‘Flu season will soon be here and it is important for people with respiratory conditions to get their free flu vaccine’, says Dr Bob Hancox, Medical Director of the Asthma Foundation.

Most people with respiratory conditions including those who have asthma and use a preventer, everyone 65 years and over, pregnant women, and people with chronic health problems can get a free flu vaccine through their GP. This year, the vaccine is also free for all children and young people aged 6 months to 18 years in Canterbury.

Influenza vaccine uptake reached just under a million New Zealanders last year. Even if you have been vaccinated before, it is important to get another vaccine each year because the protection from the vaccine wears off and the flu virus changes.

Eligible people will be able to get the vaccine free until 31 July 2012, but it is important to get it soon because the flu season often starts earlier than this and immunisation takes up to two weeks to take effect.

“People with chronic health conditions and pregnant women are at higher risk of complications from influenza than others. Every year people end up in hospital with complications from influenza and a number of people die. Flu vaccination is the best protection that you can get.

‘Influenza vaccinations should be seen as an essential part of managing asthma, COPD, and other respiratory illnesses‘ Bob says.

Contrary to some peoples beliefs, influenza vaccination cannot give you the ‘flu because it doesn’t contain any live virus. Some people get mild side effects from the vaccination for a day or two. Also, because of the time of year, some people catch a cold around the same time and unfairly blame it on the ‘flu jab.

• COPD is an abbreviation for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and generally refers to either emphysema or chronic bronchitis.
• About 1 in 4 New Zealand children has asthma.
• New Zealand has the second highest rate of asthma in the world, following the UK.
• About 800 000 New Zealanders are affected by asthma and other respiratory conditions.

More information can be found on

About the Asthma Foundation

The Asthma Foundation is New Zealand’s not-for-profit sector authority on asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

We advocate to government and raise awareness of respiratory illnesses, fund research for better treatments and educate on best practice. We provide resources on our website and support our 17 affiliated Asthma Societies in providing education, support and advice.


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