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More flu vaccine on the way

More flu vaccine on the way

Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced that 55,000 more doses of influenza vaccine will be arriving in New Zealand next week, and will be available to the public from the week of July 15.

"The flu is a serious disease and vaccination is the best available protection from it. So it is great news that PHARMAC and the Ministry of Health have managed to secure these extra vaccines,” Dr Clark says.

“The additional 55,000 vaccines will take the total number of influenza vaccines to a record 1.38 million, the highest number ever made available in New Zealand in a single year.

“That means more people than ever are getting protected against the flu.”

The additional vaccine is Sanofi’s FluQuadri. It is coming from Australia, and is expected to start arriving from Monday July 8. The Ministry of Health and PHARMAC have worked closely together on the sourcing and funding of the vaccine.

The influenza vaccine is free from general practices pregnant women, those aged 65 and over and children and adults with certain serious health conditions. Vaccinating pharmacies are able to provide free influenza vaccination only to pregnant women and those aged over 65.

“Flu season is already well and truly underway so vaccination is recommended as soon as possible, as it takes up to two weeks to become effective.

“I encourage those who are most vulnerable to the flu to talk to their GP or pharmacist about getting vaccinated as soon as possible,” David Clark says.

NOTE: FluQuadri has been used in New Zealand in previous years, but this year had not completed Medsafe’s approval process by the start of the influenza season. The process has now been completed and the vaccine approved. This has enabled PHARMAC to secure the additional 55,000 vaccines from Sanofi Pasteur in Australia. FluQuadri can be given to those aged 3 years and older.

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