Free flu jab for those at risk

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS -

Res­i­dents have only a few weeks left to claim free in­fluenza vac­ci­na­tions. The Gov­ern­mentsub­sidised cam­paign ends on July 31.

Vi­rol­o­gist Lance Jen­nings said 1.24 mil­lion peo­ple had been vaccinated this year.

‘‘Many vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple are, how­ever, still un­pro­tected. This is a con­cern as we head into the flu sea­son,’’ he said.

Those at great­est risk from flu com­pli­ca­tions, or those in con­tact with peo­ple who are at high risk from flu, should be im­mu­nised as soon as pos­si­ble, Dr Jen­nings said. In­fluenza cases tra­di­tion­ally be­gin to rise sharply at this time of year.

In­fluenza vac­ci­na­tions are free from a doc­tor or nurse for New Zealan­ders un­til the end of July for peo­ple aged over 64, peo­ple with long-term health con­di­tions such as heart dis­ease, stroke, di­a­betes, res­pi­ra­tory dis­ease (in­clud­ing asthma), kid­ney dis­ease, most can­cers, preg­nant women and chil­dren aged be­tween 6 months and 5 years who have a his­tory of sig­nif­i­cant res­pi­ra­tory ill­ness.

Peo­ple who want to be im­mu­nised af­ter July 31 will have to pay a small charge.

In­fluenza usu­ally has symp­toms such as a sud­den onset of ill­ness, high fever or headache or dry cough.

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