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Free flu immunisation helps protect New Zealanders

Hon Jo Goodhew

Associate Minister of Health


13 March 2012

Media Statement

Free flu immunisation helps protect New Zealanders

Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew urges New Zealanders most at risk from serious influenza complications to get their free immunisation from today.

The flu vaccine is offered free every year to New Zealanders over the age of 65, pregnant women and people with ongoing health conditions such as asthma or heart problems. The 2012 programme was officially launched today by the National Influenza Specialist Group.

“Flu can make people extremely unwell, but for some people it can lead to severe illness and hospitalisation. It’s really important that people who are at high risk of complications take up the offer of a free flu immunisation, and they get it now so they are protected before the flu season starts.

“Last year almost one million doses of flu vaccine were given. This year we want uptake to be even higher,” says Mrs Goodhew.

This year’s vaccine covers A(H1N1)pdm09-like virus (swine flu), A/Perth/16/2009 (H3N2)-like virus and B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.

People who are not eligible for the programme can purchase the vaccine from their general practitioner. Some may be able to receive the vaccine at work as increasing numbers of employers are providing flu vaccines to their staff.

ENDS

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