| Influenza on the increase:
Influenza illness can be particularly severe or life threatening for people with ongoing medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke, bronchitis, asthma, diabetes, kidney disease, most cancers and other conditions affecting the immune system.
Young children also are especially susceptible to influenza because most have had little past exposure to the virus.
Influenza is a disease that never fully disappears. It circulates all year round in tropical countries and affects countries with temperate climates, like New Zealand, in the winter months.
Vaccination is the best way for people to protect themselves against influenza.
It is important that people 65 years or over and children and adults with ongoing medical conditions should be immunised against influenza each year and that this should be done when the vaccine becomes available, usually in March.
Vaccination is required every year as the vaccine is updated annually to reflect current circulating strains.
Source: Dr Lance Jennings, Virologist and member of the National Influenza Immunisation Strategy Group and Dr Paul Bohmer, Ministry of Health.
Visit the Ministry of Health flu vaccination information website
Who is eligible for free influenza immunisation?Those people with chronic health conditions are more at risk of complications from influenza and that is why the vaccination is provided free to these groups. This includes those 65 years and over, and those adults and children with certain chronic conditions including:
Children are able to be vaccinated against strains
Many people are not aware that children are able to be vaccinated against influenza viruses. As with all vaccinations there may be reasons why vaccination may not be the best option. Generally children aged 6 years and older gain benefit from influenza vaccination and this is especially indicated if your child suffers from asthma or any chronic condition. Our medical staff would be very happy to advise you further.
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