Along with our colleagues at PHARMAC and the Immunisation Advisory Centre, the Ministry's really pleased with the high uptake of flu vaccine this year.
Around 1.26 million doses have been distributed already, close to 2018's all-time record of 1.3 million doses for the entire season and exceeding the Ministry’s distribution target.
Because of continued high demand, there is a need for awareness around remaining stock limits, and we'll continue to work with PHARMAC and with health care providers on managing existing stock.
To make sure those most in need can get the vaccine, at this time the Ministry has asked general practices and pharmacists to prioritise those who're eligible for publicly funded vaccines. That means pregnant women, those aged 65 and over, children 4 and under with serious respiratory illnesses and people with severe asthma, heart disease, diabetes and other serious health conditions making them more susceptible to flu.
As well as vaccination, it's also important to remember the other ways to help keep healthy during flu season. Washing hands, safe sneezing, and staying home if you're unwell are other ways we can reduce the spread of winter illnesses including flu.
- Influenza – information on prevention, symptoms and treatment
- Influenza vaccination levels hit near record levels – PHARMAC
- Flu surveillance and research – Institute of Environmental Science and Research