Cantabrians keen to tackle flu this winter

Friday May 17, 2013

More Cantabrians are making sure they don’t get influenza this year by getting their flu shot.
New Zealand’s District Health Boards have ordered over a million doses, more than ever before. Canterbury General Practice teams are ready and able to immunise our community against influenza, supported this year by the public health nursing service that is offering an in-school flu vaccination programme in Christchurch secondary schools.
Dr Ramon Pink, Canterbury medical officer of health, says so far an impressive 22 percent of under 18s have been vaccinated, already more than in any previous flu season.
“This year’s ‘flu strong’ message is helping motivate people to get vaccinated and the ‘protection for others starts with you’ message seems to be getting through too,” Dr Pink says.
“The way Cantabrians have taken the initiative so far this year is great news for Canterbury communities which will be more flu-resilient this winter.”
Dr Pink says it shows more Cantabrians care about protecting both themselves and the vulnerable people in their communities.
“Fit and healthy people are getting vaccinated as well as those people most at risk such as over 65s, pregnant women, people with chronic illness and under 18s for whom the vaccine is free,” he says.
Dr Pink acknowledges the demand for the flu vaccine at general practices is high but says that’s all the more reason people should book their flu shot as soon as they can.
This year’s flu vaccine contains the three strains that wreaked havoc during the Northern Hemisphere winter, which resulted in the highest death rates from influenza and pneumonia in the United States than in any winter since 2003.
“It’s not too late to develop the best possible protection before influenza starts to take hold in our community, this typically happens from June onwards.
“If you haven’t had your flu shot, I urge you to get it now. While the uptake to date is encouraging, too many people are still at risk of contracting influenza and giving it to others. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and the people around you.
“Don’t delay. For your flu shot, simply call your General Practice team today – get yourself, and your family flu strong,” Dr Pink says.
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Page last reviewed: 09 July 2013