Free jabs help fight dan­ger­ous win­ter flu


Porirua res­i­dents have been urged to get them­selves im­mu­nised against the flu.

The Gov­ern­ment’s na­tional in­fluenza im­mu­ni­sa­tion cam­paign was launched at the Porirua Union Health Cen­tre in Can­nons Creek on March 6.

Health Min­is­ter Jonathan Cole­man was first to get vac­ci­nated.

He said Porirua was an ideal place to launch such an im­por­tant cam­paign.

‘‘There is a com­mu­nity di­a­betes clinic here,’’ he said. ‘‘We want those with chronic ill­nesses to get vac­ci­nated, so it’s a good place to pro­mote that mes­sage.’’

The flu vac­ci­na­tion is free un­til the end of July for over 65s, preg­nant women, di­a­bet­ics and those with some other health prob­lems.

Im­mu­ni­sa­tion Ad­vi­sory Cen­tre clin­i­cal spokes­woman Dr Nikki Turner said Porirua was a high needs area and it was im­por­tant for any­one with an un­der­ly­ing health is­sue to get im­mu­nised.

‘‘We es­ti­mate about 400 a year die [from the flu] in New Zealand and a lot of them have un­der­ly­ing con­di­tions which get ex­ac­er­bated,’’ she said.

‘‘Your un­der­ly­ing con­di­tions, such as di­a­betes, asthma, peo­ple with chronic lung disease – it gets worse.’’

Preg­nant women should get the vac­cine to pro­tect both them­selves and their ba­bies, be­cause chil­dren un­der six months can­not be vac­ci­nated.

It was also im­por­tant for nonel­i­gi­ble peo­ple to get them­selves vac­ci­nated, she said.

Type 2 di­a­betic Faye Maene is a flu im­mu­ni­sa­tion vet­eran.

‘‘I’ve never had any com­pli­ca­tions with the vac­ci­na­tion,’’ she said.

‘‘If I’m talk­ing with friends, I say to them, ‘So have you had yours done?’ And ‘Why not?’’’ Cole­man said the in­fluenza im­mu­ni­sa­tion was a $20 mil­lion pro­gramme.

Last year 1.2 mil­lion New Zealan­ders were vac­ci­nated and he hoped to hit that tar­get again.

The 2016 vac­ci­na­tion in­cludes two new strains based on rec­om­men­da­tions from the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion. To find out if you are el­i­gi­ble for free im­mu­ni­sa­tion visit your lo­cal med­i­cal prac­tice or phar­macy or go to fight­


Porirua nurse Litia Man­u­a­iaia Pale­foti-Gib­son gives Health Min­is­ter Jonathan Cole­man his flu jab.

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