Flu vaccine stocks update

News article

12 June 2019

Update:  additional  vaccine stock - 6 July 2019

The Ministry of Health and PHARMAC are pleased to advise that an additional 55,000 doses of influenza vaccine FluQuadri have been sourced for delivery to New Zealand from Monday 8 July.

See Additional influenza vaccine stock for more information.

Update - 21st June

The Ministry is seeking information about stocks of influenza vaccine remaining in the community for patients at greatest risk of influenza: pregnant women, people with certain chronic illnesses, children aged 4 and under with severe respiratory illness, and those aged 65 and over (see www.influenza.org.nz for the full list of eligibility criteria). We are aware that some providers have run out, and understand this is concerning for patients and providers

If you are pregnant or aged 65 and over but unable to access influenza vaccine at your usual general practice, please check with your local pharmacy, as funded influenza vaccination is available from many community pharmacies for these groups. Other eligible patients will need to get vaccinated at a general practice - your local Primary Health Organisation (PHO) may be able to advise on practices in your area with available stock.

The Ministry is working with PHARMAC to ensure that all available options to obtain more vaccine are explored.

The Ministry of Health and PHARMAC are continuing to work together to manage existing stocks of influenza vaccine this winter.

Already this season, distribution of influenza vaccine in New Zealand has reached near record levels, with around 1.3 million doses of influenza vaccine distributed so far this winter. This number is close to last year’s all-time record of 1.326 million doses for the entire season, and exceeds the number of doses distributed each year in 2016 and 2017.

The overwhelming majority of influenza vaccination that takes place each year is done during April and May. The Ministry has asked providers to prioritise the stock remaining in clinics, estimated at around 20,000 doses, to those most at risk from the harmful effects of influenza.

PHARMAC and Seqirus, the manufacturer of Afluria Quad influenza vaccine, have worked together to make 14,000 vaccines originally intended for the private market available to those who are eligible for publicly funded vaccines. The funding of Fluarix Tetra (available only through general practices) has also been extended from only children aged 6 to 35 months to include use in pregnancy. This means that at 11 June 2019, an additional 20,000 vaccines are available for higher risk patients.

The Ministry is continuing to ask general practices and pharmacists to ensure they closely manage their stock levels and prioritise the vaccination of those at greatest risk of influenza:

  • pregnant women
  • children aged 4 and under with serious respiratory illnesses
  • people with severe asthma, heart disease, diabetes and other serious health conditions that make them more susceptible to influenza
  • those aged 65 and over.

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. 

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