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This year's vaccine was released earlier than usual to help protect vulnerable people in the community against the flu in the middle of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
“Reaching more than 100,000 flu vaccinations so early in the year is encouraging, particularly since it has been achieved in spite of the challenges of vaccine supply and restrictions under Covid-19 alert level 4,” said Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Ramon Pink.
A priority group for early access to the vaccine are people aged 65 and over. More people in this group have now been vaccinated this year than for the whole of last year.
“Having the flu vaccination is still your best protection against the flu," said Pink.
"Priority groups should have their vaccination as soon as possible if they haven’t already."
General practice teams, pharmacists and occupational health vaccinators successfully adapted the way they provided flu vaccinations under alert level 4 to protect against the spread of Covid-19.
"While there are still some challenges with supply of the flu vaccine in Canterbury, people are encouraged to contact their GP or pharmacist to check when they can come in for their vaccination."
The vaccination is now available for the general public, and is free for these groups:
- People aged 65 and over.
- Pregnant women.
- Anyone with certain chronic health conditions.
- Children aged four and under with a history of severe respiratory illness.