Influenza

Influenza is a significant public health issue in New Zealand. Each year it has a large impact on our community, with 10-20% of New Zealanders infected.

Some of these people become so ill they need hospital care, and a small number die.

Influenza also has a financial impact, particularly in workplaces, and can potentially overwhelm both primary care and hospital services during winter epidemics.

For consumer information relating to influenza, see the Influenza page in the Your Health section.

Annual Influenza Immunisation Programme

Detailed information on the annual influenza immunisation programme, including who is eligible for free immunisation, is available through the National Influenza Specialist Group.  For information for health professionals, see www.influenza.org.nz. Information for patients is available at www.fightflu.co.nz.

Start date for eligible patients and healthcare workers 18 March 2020

As part of the Ministry of Health's preparation for the potential impact of COVID-19 on the health sector, the 2020 influenza immunisation programme will be starting early for eligible patients only, as they are at greatest risk of serious illness from influenza. Healthcare workers are also able to be vaccinated early. Funded vaccination can begin, and claims will be accepted from 18 March 2020. Influenza vaccines for children aged 6 months to 35 months will be available from 1 April 2020.

We ask that general practices, pharmacies and occupational health providers defer privately funded vaccination until Monday 13 April, two weeks after the usual start date, to allow eligible patients and healthcare workers to have priority access.

Pharmacist vaccinators are now able to administer and claim for funded vaccination for eligible people aged 13 and over.

The Annual Influenza Immunisation Programme usually begins on 1 April, to ensure that the vaccine remained as effective as possible during the peak incidence of influenza, which in recent years has occurred in late winter. For further information, see the Ministry's policy statement on the Annual Influenza Immunisation Programme Start Date.

Pandemic planning and response

Ministry of Health pandemic planning and response.

Consumer information

Influenza information and advice from the Ministry is provided in the YourHealth consumer section.

Workforce Influenza Immunisation Coverage Rates by District Health Boards

Antiviral treatment

Information on antiviral treatment including tamiflu is available from the NISG website. Datasheets are provided on the Medsafe website.

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