Centre advises getting them now
Flu season is almost here and Matamata residents are being urged to get their annual flu jabs as soon as possible.
Vaccinations are available at Matamata Medical Centre and now is the best time to be vaccinated as it can take up to two weeks for immunity to develop.
Dr Bruce Pitchford said the vaccine is free for people aged 65 and over, pregnant women and those with chronic illnesses such as asthma or heart disease.
‘‘ Influenza is a much more dangerous virus than a cold, in terms of potential to go on to pneumonia or other more serious illnesses,’’ he said.
He recommended farmers and business owners who could not afford time off should get themselves and their staff immunised.
The cost for a healthy adult is a maximum of $33.
‘‘If you weigh up what the flu vaccine costs against what a day’s sick leave and loss of productivity costs, to me, it’s a no-brainer,’’ he said.
The vaccine is generally well tolerated and it is not possible to catch the flu from the vaccine as it is not live.
‘‘The first time you get it you may feel achy for a day or two but after a few times there is usually no side effects at all,’’ Dr Pitchford said.
More than one million New Zealanders had an influenza vaccine last year – nearly a quarter of the population.
The aim this year is to vaccinate 1.2 million people as health officials prepare for a second round of a deadly flu strain that has caused havoc in the northern hemisphere winter.
A nationwide epidemic was declared in the Unites States when thousands of Americans were hospitalised and more than a dozen children died from the virus.
This year’s vaccine offers protection from three strains – A/California (H1N1), A/Victoria (H3N2), and B/Wisconsin.
Around one in five New Zealanders get the flu each year and an estimated 400 people die directly or indirectly from it.
To get a flu jab, book an appointment with the Matamata Medical Centre or if you are seeing your doctor for another reason ask about the flu jab.