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Flu campaign reinforces the importance of vaccination – Shane Reti

Minister of Health Dr Shane Reti says the start of this year’s flu campaign reinforces the importance of vaccination in keeping New Zealanders healthy during the winter months ahead and protecting the health frontline.

Receiving a flu vaccination in Auckland today, Dr Reti says getting a flu shot not only helps individuals, but the frontline health system as a whole.

“From today, flu vaccinations are available free of charge for people who are 65 and over, pregnant, or who have mental illness or addiction, and for children and adults likely to get very sick with the flu because of a health condition.

“Influenza and other respiratory illnesses have a massive impact on the health system over winter and we can do more to prevent this by taking action now, by getting vaccinated, preparing our homes and having a plan to help stay well through the colder months.

“Hospitals often have an increase in admissions over winter, due to respiratory infections and other illnesses spreading easily as people spend more time indoors.

“Eligible groups can get their free flu vaccination from their local pharmacy, doctor, nurse or healthcare provider.

“We’re also very aware of the ongoing risk of a measles outbreak in New Zealand, so this is also a good time for families to be checking if their children’s immunisations are up to date, particularly MMR.

“We know the harm measles has on communities but it’s a disease which can be prevented with immunisation. As a Government, we support improving public services, like health and education. Lifting our vaccination rates, including for flu and for measles are key targets for us.

“There are also other ways communities can prepare for winter, including making sure we have care plans for any vulnerable family members and remembering to stay home if you are unwell to avoid spreading illnesses,” Dr Reti says.

 

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