Free flu jab for sick kids
Children under 5 with respiratory illnesses will be able to get the flu jab for free from this month.
Health Minister Tony Ryall says kids with respiratory diseases such as asthma are most at risk of suffering serious complications from influenza.
‘‘In previous years many of these children have been admitted to the hospital as a result of the flu.’’
Mr Ryall says vaccination is the best protection from the flu virus and Pharmac’s decision to extend the vaccine will reduce the likelihood of young children ending up in hospital.
Children aged from 6 months to 5 years who have a history of significant respiratory illness are eligible for the Government-funded flu shot.
Kiwis over 65, pregnant women and people with ongoing health conditions can already get the vaccine for free.
Pharmac estimates extending the vaccine to this group of children will cost district health boards an extra $1.2 million during five years.