The 2018 Influenza vaccine is expected to become available in late February to early March.
Why and When should you get Influenza Vaccine?
- Annual vaccination is required for two important reasons:
- Protection lessens over time
- The circulating influenza strains change each year and may not have been in the previous year’s vaccine
- The best time to have the vaccine is prior to influenza entering the community, before the start of the winter season. This is generally March-May each year. However the vaccine can still be given even when influenza is already around in the community, as protective antibody levels can develop rapidly, from as little as four days after immunisation.
Who is Eligible for free Influenza Vaccine
The following groups of patients are eligible for free Influenza vaccine (INFLUVAC) between 1st Mar and 31st December 2017.
- Anyone aged 65 years or over
- Pregnant women (any trimester)
- Anyone under 65 years with any of the medical conditions listed here:
- Heart (ischaemic heart disease, congestive heart failure, rheumatic heart disease, congenital heart disease)
- Cerebrovascular disease
- Lung (asthma, if on regular preventer, chronically impaired lung function)
- Chronic kidney disease
- Cancer (excluding basal and squamous cell skin cancers if not invasive)
- Children aged four years and under who have been hospitalised for respiratory illness or have a history of significant respiratory illness
- Other qualifying conditions (autoimmune disease, immune suppression/deficiency, HIV, transplant recipients, neuromuscular and CNS diseases/disorders, haemoglobinopathies, children on long term aspirin, cochlear implant, errors of metabolism at risk of major metabolic decompensation, pre and post splenectomy, Down’s syndrome.)
Who can have Influenza Vaccine?
- Anyone from age 6 months of age can be given an Influenza vaccine.
- For those patients NOT eligible for a free vaccine (see above), the cost is $35.
The New Zealand 2017 vaccine contained the following 3 virus strains (which may be altered for 2018):
- A (H1N1): an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1) – like virus
- A (H3N2): an A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2) like virus
- B/Brisbane/60/2008 like virus