Welcome to the New Zealand Ministry of Health

The Government's principal advisor on health and disability: improving, promoting and protecting the health of all New Zealanders

Free flu vaccines extended

If you’re eligible for a free flu vaccine, you now have until 11 September to get immunised. Pregnant women, people aged 65 or older, and people with chronic health conditions can get the free vaccine – check the Fight Flu website to find out more.

[The video shows Ali, who is pregnant, playing with her toddler Sam, stacking blocks.]

Sam: There, there!

Ali: It goes there, how about that one?

Sam: This one.

Title: Ali Just, with son Sam. Mother-to-be and Intensive Care Nurse, Christchurch Hospital.

[Interview with Ali, intercut with footage of her and her son playing.]

Ali: The young people I’ve seen that’ve had the flu have got very very sick. And quite surprisingly you always think if you’re young you’ll get the flu and you’ll be fine within a day or two. But I’ve looked after people that have been in ICU for 6 weeks and they were very young and almost died. And also looked after a pregnant lady who was sick.

I got the flu vaccination while I was pregnant for two main reasons. One is because I don’'t want to be sick looking after a new baby, and also to protect my child. When they’re newborn they’re quite vulnerable to everything that’s out there. And I couldn’t I couldn’t bear looking after a child that was sick with ... knowing I could have done something to prevent it.

[Sam comes over during the interview to ask her about some pegs, which he gives her.]

Ali: David, my husband, was very supportive of me getting Sam vaccinated for the flu. I thought about not getting him vaccinated because it would hurt. And I said to my husband that maybe we wouldn’t vaccinate him against the flu. And he’s like, you’re being silly, you’ve got him vaccinated against everything else, of course you’re taking him and booking him in. I was like, yes. So we took him and booked him in, and got him sorted.

[Ali talking to her son.]

Ali: You gonna come and give bubba a kiss? [Touching her stomach] Say hello bubba? [Sam comes over for a cuddle.]

[Back to the interview.]

Ali: One thing that made me strongly get flu vac while I was pregnant was I helped care for a lady who was about my age and she was quite pregnant, almost due to have her baby, and she was very very sick. She almost died. She was with us for quite a few weeks. And just watching her and what her husband was going through, and it was their first baby and it was meant to be an exciting time. She almost died.

Her husband was visiting her every day worried about the baby and her. And then when she finally delivered her baby as an emergency, he was left with this beautiful newborn and a wife who was still terribly sick and was going to take months to recover. And I just thought, I don’t want that to ever be me or my husband.

Featured work

Pregnancy and kids

Find out about keeping you, your child and whānau healthy and well during pregnancy and the first 5 years of your child’s life.

Pregnancy | Birth and afterwards | The first year | Under fives

Zero fees for under-13s

Most general practices are now offering zero-fee visits for children under 13 both during the day and after hours. Under-13s are also exempt from the standard $5 pharmacy charge for each prescription item. Find out more about zero fees for under-13s.

Stop sore throats hurting hearts

Rheumatic fever is a serious but preventable illness that starts with a sore throat. Any time your child has a sore throat it could be serious. Don’t ignore it. Take them to a doctor or nurse straight away to get it checked. Find out more about rheumatic fever.

Reducing rheumatic fever: update

The most recent figures on rheumatic fever from June of this year showed a 24 percent decrease in rheumatic fever first hospitalisations since the Better Public Services target was first introduced in 2012. Read more.

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