News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Canterbury leading the way in flu prevention



July 8, 2013

Canterbury leading the way in flu prevention

New Zealanders are getting behind the influenza immunisation campaign this year like never before and Canterbury is leading from the front.

Dr Lance Jennings, virologist and spokesperson for the National Influenza Specialist Group (NISG), says this has been a record-breaking season with around 1.24 million people vaccinated in New Zealand so far.

“But we mustn’t be complacent and think the job is done. The current vaccination rate, impressive as it is, may slow the spread of influenza but it won’t stop it,” Dr Jennings says.

“Roughly half of those vaccinated so far (640,000) were eligible for free vaccination –an impressive increase over last year’s uptake. However, many vulnerable people are still unprotected and this is a concern as we head into flu season.”

Dr Jennings says it makes good sense to get immunised before influenza starts to take hold in our community.

“Influenza cases traditionally begin to rise sharply at this time of year and it can take up to two weeks to develop protection after you have been vaccinated,” he says.

In the Canterbury health district:

· More than 30 percent of under 18s are already protected, including those all-important under fives

· 74 percent of people 65 or older have prepared for a healthier winter

· Canterbury vaccinators have ordered enough vaccine for 42 percent of the population and fully expect to use it all

· More people are taking influenza seriously and are getting immunised each year – and it’s not just those at greatest risk who are eligible for free vaccination.

Influenza vaccinations are free from your General Practice team until the end of July for people aged 65 and over, pregnant women and anyone with a long-term health condition such as heart disease, diabetes or respiratory illness. In Canterbury children aged from six months to 18 years of age are also free.

Dr Ramon Pink, Canterbury medical officer of health, says everyone should get themselves immunised against influenza.

“The school holidays are the perfect time to take your children to your general practice for their flu shot and get yours at the same time but make sure you call your GP team early to book – it’s a busy time of year for them,” Dr Pink says.

“If you don’t get your vaccination free, getting a flu shot will typically cost $30 to $50 at most general practices and it’s also available in some pharmacies. It could be the best investment you make this winter and save you a miserable week off work, followed by more time off as the family come down with it.”

Dr Pink says influenza shouldn’t be confused with common colds or other respiratory viruses often seen at this time of year. Influenza is a serious disease, especially for people with underlying medical conditions. It can make their condition much worse and lead to hospitalisation and even death.

“Contrary to a widely-held myth, you cannot get influenza from the vaccine, as it does not contain any live virus. People who do become sick are more likely to have been incubating another winter respiratory illness such as a common cold, which then gets worse,” Dr Pink says.

“Many Canterbury people have really stepped up this winter – but if you’re not one of them, it’s not too late to get yourself, your family and your community flu strong. Kia kaha i te hōtoke nei, kia whawhai tonu mātou i te rewharewha nei – Be strong this winter, let's fight against influenza.”


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


New Zealand Geographic: Photographer Of The Year Announced

Shaun Jeffers, has won the Landscape category at the New Zealand Geographic, Photographer of the Year awards for his stunning shot of the glowworms at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves! More>>


Howard Davis: Review - 'I, Daniel Blake' - Ken Loach's Bleak Masterpiece

'I, Daniel Blake' is a bleak masterpiece, a chilling and moving story of two people striking up an unlikely friendship under extremely adverse circumstances. It is both a polemical indictment of a faceless benefits bureaucracy that strips claimants of their humanity by reducing them to mere numbers, and a celebration of the decency and compassion of ordinary people who look out for one another when the state has abandoned them. More>>

Howard Davis: Review - A Girl Named Mo

Moana Ete brought her three-piece band A Girl Named Mo to Wellington's intimate and iconic Bats Theatre last week for a five-night residency. Each show was recorded and filmed live for the release of her debut album 'Platonic/Romantic' on Loop records later this year. More>>

For The Birds: Who Will Be Crowned Bird Of The Year?

The competition involves well-known and enthusiastic New Zealanders acting as ‘campaign managers’ for their favourite birds with many going to great lengths to get New Zealanders to vote for their chosen bird... More>>


  • Greening the Red Zone - Bird of the year heats up: kōtare concedes, backs kea
  • Image Out-Link - Giselle Clarkson on Twitter
  • Gordon Campbell: On Bob Dylan's Nobel (And The Surplus)

    So Bob Dylan has just won the Nobel Prize for… Literature? Wow. I’d be just as happy if he’d won for his work on particle physics (“One Grain of Sand”, “Simple Twist of Fate”) or got the Economics prize for his work on the theory of contracting (“Don’t Think Twice Its Alright”) ... More>>


    Scoop Review Of Books: Whose Goat Was That?

    Mysterious Mysteries of Aro Valley is a sharp, satirical and sometimes downright scary romp through and around that valley in ways that made me question the realities of the places I thought I knew so well. More>>


    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news