Free flu vaccines available this winter
30 May 2023
Winter is coming and getting immunised against flu is the first step to protecting yourself, your tamariki and whānau from serious illness, Te Whatu Ora Hawke’s Bay Senior Responsible COVID-19 and Immunisation Officer Chris McKenna says.
“With levels of social interaction back to their normal pre-COVID levels, there is a high risk that the 2023 flu season could be one of the worst experienced in many years.
“The flu can be much worse than the common cold and those particularly vulnerable are older people, tamariki and hāpū māmā as well as people with health conditions such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes. However, the good news is that the flu vaccine is free for many people in Hawke’s Bay and gives the best protection from becoming very unwell.”
Mrs McKenna said this year access to the funded influenza vaccine has been extended to all Māori and Pacific people aged 55 to 64 years of age as well as all tamariki under 12 years of age.
“Our mobile vans will be visiting a number of communities this week offering people free flu and COVID-19 vaccines as well childhood immunisation against measles and whooping cough.
“For those who are yet to get protected, we encourage you do this now or speak with your GP, Pharmacy or Hauora provider about the benefits, as it can take up to two weeks after you get the vaccine for your body to start protecting you,” she said.
Ms McKenna said the vaccine clinics also coincided with Aotearoa Immunisation Week (29 May to 4 June 2023) where locally-led events were planned to celebrate the importance of immunisations and provide a variety of vaccinations to protect whānau as they prepare for winter.
Ministry of Health data reveals 84 percent of all Hawke’s Bay children at 24 months are fully immunised – however just 73 percent of Māori tamariki are fully immunised at that age.
Ms McKenna urged whānau to pop into the mobile clinics or visit one of the immunisation clinics for tamariki under five in Hawke’s Bay.
A new drop-in clinic run by Whānau Āwhina Plunket and Te Whatu Ora had been established to improve access to vaccinations for all whānau, ensuring more pēpi and tamariki are getting vaccinated, Ms McKenna said.
“Immunisation is the first step to staying healthy this winter and to keep our community healthy stay home if you’re feeling unwell and wear a mask when in crowded places.”
Drop-in immunisation clinics for pēpi, tamariki under five and hapū māmā:
- Hastings: Mondays 10am to 4pm at Whānau Āwhina Plunket, 207 Avenue Road East.
- Napier: Mondays 10am to 6pm at the Napier Health Centre, Wellesley Road.
Drop-in immunisation for hāpū māmā:
- Hawke’s Bay Hospital, Maternity Immunisation Clinic, at Ata Rangi Wednesdays 11 to 1pm.
For a full list of where you can get immunised go to: https://www.healthpoint.co.nz/community-health-and-social-services/community-health/hawkes-bay-mobile-vaccination-service/
Alternatively, book your flu and COVID-19 vaccines now at www.BookMyVaccine.co.nz, call Healthline on 0800 28 29 26, or contact your GP, pharmacy or Hauora provider.