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West Coast flu campaign underway

Monday 23 March 2020Media release2 minutes to read

This year’s influenza immunisation programme has started early on the West Coast with flu vaccines initially available for front-line healthcare workers and eligible Coasters who are at greatest risk of serious illness from influenza.

West Coast Medical Officer of Health, Dr Cheryl Brunton, says West Coast DHB staff who come in close contact with patients are being encouraged to get vaccinated now. It is important that we do all we can to reduce the impact of flu on our health system and the more people who get vaccinated the better.

Influenza vaccine does not protect against COVID-19, however it will help prevent a serious illness which causes hundreds of deaths each winter in New Zealand.

If you are in one of the following priority groups, it is strongly recommended that you contact your general practice team to discuss getting vaccinated:

  • people 65 and over
  • pregnant women (any stage of pregnancy)
  • those with long-term health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes respiratory disease (including asthma that requires regular preventive therapy), kidney disease and most cancers
  • children aged four years and under who have been hospitalised for respiratory illness or have a history of significant respiratory illness.

Our flu vaccination programme will be available to the wider community on or shortly after Monday, 13 April 2020.

If you get the flu, the best way to help prevent spreading it is to stay home from school or work if you are sick. It’s also important to try and keep your home as warm and dry as possible, says Dr Brunton.

Proper coughing and sneezing etiquette is also key – cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or use your elbow if you’re caught short, and wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitiser.

You should call your general practice team 24/7 for advice rather than visiting in person. After hours, follow the instructions to be put through to a nurse for free health advice, says Dr Brunton.

ENDS

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Page last updated: 23 March 2020

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