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‘Good’ uptake of influenza vaccinations so far

More people have received the influenza vaccine, meaning there are limited stock available in New Zealand.

A good uptake of influenza vaccinations across New Zealand during April and May before the onset of the influenza season, means flu vaccine stocks remain limited this year after.

Influenza and other respiratory infections causing influenza-like illnesses increase every year, usually between June and September.

Toi Te Ora Public Health’s medical officer of health Dr Neil de Wet says people got in early this year to get vaccinated against the influenza virus.

“General practices and pharmacists have been given advice to help prioritise the vaccination for those with higher risk of serious illness which include; pregnant women, children aged four 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, and those aged 65 and over.”

Neil says there are several things that you can do to help protect yourself and your family.

Immunisation:

· Immunisation is the best protection from influenza, and the best way to prevent its spread.

· Flu vaccine is still available and free for those with higher risk of serious illness (that is,everyone aged 65 years and over, pregnant women, and adults or children with certain long term or serious medical conditions) so call your GP or health centre to arrange an immunisation appointment.

Hand hygiene is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways of reducing the spread of colds, influenza and other winter illnesses.

· wash hands thoroughly with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds;

· dry hands with a clean, dry towel or paper towel for 20 seconds.

If you or your family members are unwell:

· Help prevent the spread of colds, influenza and other winter illnesses to others – stay at home, and away from work or school until you are feeling better.

· Practice good cough and sneeze etiquette. This means covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or coughing or sneezing into your elbow.

· Remember free health advice from a registered nurse is just a phone call away – phone Healthline on 0800 611 116.

For more information visit www.toiteora.govt.nz/influenza

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