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 Information for patients is available at

Start date 1 April 2019

From 2019, the Annual Influenza Immunisation Programme will have a fixed start date of 1 April. In previous years, the programme started as soon as the influenza vaccine became available, generally by early March. The change to a fixed start date of 1 April is intended to ensure that the vaccine remains 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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