Time to get your flu shot

Now is the time to get immunised.

Now is the time to get immunised.

Dr Sean Pocock receives his influenza vaccine from occupational health clinical nurse specialist Kathy Brown. This winter’s flu vaccine is now available. Most people who have flu will not feel sick but can still pass it on to others, said Dr Pocock. “The elderly and very young children can become very ill with flu.”
Picture by Paul Rickard

Winter-like temperatures have arrived this week just as the influenza or flu vaccine is arriving in surgeries and participating pharmacies.

Now is the time to protect your family from influenza.

Some could qualify for a free flu shot.

This year’s vaccines are expected to offer protection against the strain circulating in the Northern Hemisphere winter, which is sometimes called the ‘‘Aussie flu’’ although it has nothing to do with Australia.

To better match circulating viruses, the two funded vaccines — one for adults and children aged three and over and one for children aged six months to under three — will contain four inactivated virus strains, specially formulated for the New Zealand 2018 season.

It is not possible to get flu from the vaccine because there are no live viruses in the vaccine.

Staff at Hauora Tairawhiti are being vaccinated this week.

Keeping vulnerable people safe is their highest priority.

“Many people we care for are vulnerable and have weakened immune systems, says obstetrician Dr Sean Pocock. “The elderly and very young children can become very ill with flu. If we pass on the virus, the consequences are often serious.

“The influenza virus can be anywhere. It is easy to catch through coughs and sneezes and by touching some surfaces.

“Being fit and healthy won’t stop you getting the flu.

“Around one in four New Zealanders are infected with flu each year. Eighty percent of those won’t feel sick at all but can still pass it on to others.

“This is particularly concerning for people working in health.

“We would never intentionally work with patients if we knew we had a virus and could be passing it on to someone whose health is already vulnerable.

“With the flu virus, you may not know.”

Flu viruses are mostly spread by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby, or be inhaled into the lungs.

“That is why it is important to try to keep several metres from others when you are unwell to reduce the spread of the virus.”

For the last five years, Hauora Tairawhiti has had the highest percentage of staff immunised against influenza out of all New Zealand district health boards.

Chief executive Jim Green said 84 percent of staff “rolled up their sleeves” to protect themselves and the people they care for last year.

“This level of caring for our community is one we intend to repeat and extend in 2018 to make a healthier winter for all.”

Winter-like temperatures have arrived this week just as the influenza or flu vaccine is arriving in surgeries and participating pharmacies.

Now is the time to protect your family from influenza.

Some could qualify for a free flu shot.

This year’s vaccines are expected to offer protection against the strain circulating in the Northern Hemisphere winter, which is sometimes called the ‘‘Aussie flu’’ although it has nothing to do with Australia.

To better match circulating viruses, the two funded vaccines — one for adults and children aged three and over and one for children aged six months to under three — will contain four inactivated virus strains, specially formulated for the New Zealand 2018 season.

It is not possible to get flu from the vaccine because there are no live viruses in the vaccine.

Staff at Hauora Tairawhiti are being vaccinated this week.

Keeping vulnerable people safe is their highest priority.

“Many people we care for are vulnerable and have weakened immune systems, says obstetrician Dr Sean Pocock. “The elderly and very young children can become very ill with flu. If we pass on the virus, the consequences are often serious.

“The influenza virus can be anywhere. It is easy to catch through coughs and sneezes and by touching some surfaces.

“Being fit and healthy won’t stop you getting the flu.

“Around one in four New Zealanders are infected with flu each year. Eighty percent of those won’t feel sick at all but can still pass it on to others.

“This is particularly concerning for people working in health.

“We would never intentionally work with patients if we knew we had a virus and could be passing it on to someone whose health is already vulnerable.

“With the flu virus, you may not know.”

Flu viruses are mostly spread by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby, or be inhaled into the lungs.

“That is why it is important to try to keep several metres from others when you are unwell to reduce the spread of the virus.”

For the last five years, Hauora Tairawhiti has had the highest percentage of staff immunised against influenza out of all New Zealand district health boards.

Chief executive Jim Green said 84 percent of staff “rolled up their sleeves” to protect themselves and the people they care for last year.

“This level of caring for our community is one we intend to repeat and extend in 2018 to make a healthier winter for all.”

Flu jab free for some

Flu immunisation is free for Tairawhiti residents from your doctor, nurse or vaccinating pharmacist (Bramwells, Gordon’s and Sean Shivnan pharmacies, and Pharmacy 53), from April to the end of December if you’re 65 years and over, or at any stage of pregnancy.

Pregnant women can also get free flu immunisation from their midwife, the maternity unit at Gisborne Hospital or Turanga Health Antenatal Clinic.

Flu immunisation is also free from a doctor or nurse if you are under 65 (including children) with long-term health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease (including asthma that requires regular preventive therapy), kidney disease and most cancers.

Children, aged four and under, who have been hospitalised for respiratory illness or have a history of significant respiratory illness are also eligible for a free flu shot.

Even if you don’t qualify for free immunisation from your doctor, nurse or pharmacist, you may still be able to get one free from your employer.

Flu shots are also available for anyone for a fee from a doctor, nurse or some pharmacists.

The public is advised to encourage family members who can get the free flu shot to see their doctor, nurse or qualified vaccinating pharmacist.

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