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


Healthcare workers gearing up to fight flu

Healthcare workers gearing up to fight flu

Healthcare workers at district health boards around the country are gearing up to fight influenza or ‘flu’ this winter – and some DHBs are reporting increased uptake in influenza vaccination by their staff so far.

The Ministry of Health strongly encourages healthcare workers to be vaccinated - to protect their patients, but also themselves, their families and friends. In 2013, an average of 58 percent of DHB healthcare workers was vaccinated.

Virus expert and National Influenza Specialist Group (NISG) [1] spokesperson, Dr Lance Jennings says healthcare workers should be immunised as they are likely to come in contact with people who are vulnerable to complications from influenza such as the very young, the elderly, pregnant women and those with ongoing medical conditions.

“We’re seeing an increasing trend for healthcare workers to be immunised against influenza,” he says.

Canterbury DHB reports it has already vaccinated almost 6,000 staff or around 65 percent and its programme is continuing. In 2013, the DHB vaccinated 75 percent of its staff by the end of the season.

Meanwhile, Waikato DHB says it is making very good progress with its campaign, having already vaccinated 51 percent of its staff. The DHB is within sight of its previous year’s total of 53 percent of staff.

Auckland DHB is also on track to exceed its previous year’s total with staff vaccinations currently at 60 percent and Phase Two of its campaign about to begin. The DHB has seen a particularly good uptake this year among nursing and midwifery staff.

Dr Jennings says that while the hospitals are gearing up for winter it’s also important that at-risk groups in the community protect themselves as soon as possible so they don’t end up in hospital.

“Although the weather has been mild so far, winter is not far away and it can take up to 14 days from vaccination to build immunity. We strongly advise people to to talk to their doctor or nurse now to arrange a flu vaccination, which is free for many people.”

Influenza vaccinations are free for New Zealanders from a doctor or nurse until the end of July if you are in one of these groups:

· People aged 65 and over
· Anyone under 65 years of age (including children) with long-term health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease (including asthma), kidney disease and most cancers
All pregnant women
Children aged from six months and up to five years of age who have been hospitalised for respiratory illness or have a history of significant respiratory illness.

“Children, especially, should be vaccinated as soon as possible as they may need two doses of vaccine spaced apart if they have not been vaccinated before.”

Dr Jennings says influenza viruses are circulating at a low level in New Zealand at the moment but that this year’s vaccine is well matched to the virus strains identified so far.

“Influenza immunisation is effective and is still your best protection against this serious disease.”


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Scoop Review Of Books: Before The Quakes

Remembering Christchurch: Voices from decades past: The Christchurch I lived in for my first 23 years was where four-year-olds walked alone to kindergarten, crossing roads empty of all but a couple of cars per hour. My primary school, Ilam, was newly built on a grassy paddock surrounded by rural land... More>>

6-11 October: New Zealand Improvisation Festival Hits Wellington

Wellingtonians will have a wide selection of improv to feast on with a jam packed programme containing 22 shows, three companies from Australia, two companies from Auckland, one from Nelson, one from Christchurch and seven from Wellington. More>>


Bird Of The Year: New Zealanders Asked To Vote For Their Favourite Native Bird

Te Radar, David Farrier, Heather du-Plessis Allan and Duncan Garner are just some of the New Zealanders championing their favourite native bird in Forest & Bird’s annual Bird of the Year competition, which kicks off today.. More>>


Werewolf Film: It Follows - Panic In Detroit

Philip Matthews: When you heard last month that Wes Craven had died and you wanted to pay homage, you could have sat down with any one of five of his films that helped reinvent American horror at least three times over three decades... Or you could just have watched one of the greatest recent horror films that would probably not exist without Craven. More>>


Werewolf Music: Searching For The White Wail - On Art Pepper, etc

If the word ‘hipster’ means anything – which it arguably doesn’t – it seems to be more of an impulse than a condition. One always headed for the margins, and away from the white-bred, white-bread mainstream... More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Leonardo da Vinci - The Graphic Work

The breadth of da Vinci’s work is incredible: from animals to weaponry, architecture to fabric, maps to botany. The works have been divided into themes such as Proportion Drawings, Anatomical Drawings and Drawings of Maps and Plans. Each section begins with a short essay. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: James Hector: Explorer, Scientist, Leader

Publication of this comprehensive 274-page account of the life and work of James Hector by the Geoscience Society of New Zealand marks the 150th anniversary of James Hector’s appointment as New Zealand’s first government scientist. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news