Free flu jab for sick kids

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

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.

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