Cen­tre ad­vises get­ting them now

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By NI­COLA STE­WART ni­cola.ste­wart@wrcn.co.nz

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.

See fight­flu.co.nz

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