Biggest ever uptake of flu vaccine this season

Minister of Health
6 July 2018 MEDIA STATEMENT

Health Minister Dr David Clark is pleased that more New Zealanders than ever before have protected themselves from influenza this year.

“More than 1.29 million doses of influenza vaccine have been distributed so far, more than any previous influenza season”, David Clark said.

“Despite the later start to the programme, around 100,000 extra doses have been distributed compared with this date last year. This is an enormous credit to the hard work of vaccinators at general practices, pharmacies and other health providers around the country over the last few weeks.

“For those who are greater risk of influenza and have not yet been vaccinated, it’s not too late to be protected before the peak of the season.”

Influenza vaccine takes up to two weeks to provide full protection, and influenza levels usually increase to winter levels during July.

“In an average year, it’s estimated influenza kills around 400 New Zealanders, many of whom have other health conditions that make them more vulnerable to complications from the disease. Australia and the northern hemisphere have had particularly deadly influenza seasons over the last twelve months. New Zealand’s influenza vaccines protect against the four strains that were most prevalent overseas,” David Clark said.