“Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and the reason it is free for pregnant women, the elderly, asthmatics and others with certain health conditions is because they are most at risk of getting the illness,” says Dale Oliff, our Acting Chief Executive.
“I can’t reiterate the message enough – flu can be anywhere and everywhere, please get vaccinated for your sake, your family and everyone around you.
“Influenza is not a cold. It can be a dangerous illness that poses a serious risk to your life.
”Pregnant women are five times more likely to get influenza which can affect their unborn child’s development and can lead to miscarriage or premature birth."
Ms Oliff said it was even more important for people to get the latest vaccine because it was especially designed to tackle a new strain of flu expected to hit the country this winter.
“We are expecting a new strain to hit the Hutt Valley this winter and the information we have from the Ministry of Health about the impact of the illness in the northern hemisphere, where it first appeared, concerns us.”
Only 14% of the Hutt Valley population was vaccinated last year. In winter last year, our Emergency Department at Hutt Hospital dealt with 2069 patients who had flu-like symptoms.
People eligible to get the free vaccine:
• Pregnant women (any trimester)
• People aged 65 and older
• Children aged 4 or under who have been hospitalised or have a history of significant respiratory illness
• People aged under 65 with any of the medical conditions listed online at www.fightflu.co.nz
Contact your GP to get your flu vaccine which protects against the latest H3N2 strain.For more information go online to: www.fightflu.co.nz