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Source: New Zealand Ministry of Health

Almost 100,000 people aged 65 and over have had the influenza vaccine in the first two weeks of this year’s campaign.

This week is World Immunisation Week – the theme for which is ‘vaccines will bring us closer together.’

The Ministry’s Director of Public Health Dr Caroline McElnay says this year’s theme is more fitting than ever.

‘The theme is a profound reminder of the value of all vaccines in protecting our health and allowing us to connect safely with our friends and family. It also brings us closer together with generations of New Zealanders – past, present and future.’

Dr McElnay has acknowledged the more than 15,000 frontline health staff who provide life-saving vaccines to New Zealanders, year-round.  

‘I want to acknowledge and thank all immunisation staff, for your work to protect generations of New Zealanders from vaccine-preventable diseases. I also want to thank the growing number of registered vaccinators stepping up to become part of our COVID-19 vaccination surge workforce, which now totals more than 2,600 people.

‘By making the decision to be immunised, New Zealanders have stamped out diseases like polio, a huge achievement which has happened within living memory. By continuing to get immunised, we can protect this and future generations.’

This year’s rollout of the influenza immunisation began on 14 April for people aged 65 and over.

‘I’m delighted to hear almost 100,000 people aged 65 and over have been immunised against flu since the start of the programme,’ says Dr McElnay.

‘Childhood immunisations are another cornerstone of the National Immunisation Schedule, the series of vaccines that are offered free to babies, children, adolescents and adults. Children can be immunised against

11 diseases including measles, mumps and rubella, polio, diphtheria, and chickenpox.

‘World Immunisation Week is a chance to reflect on the importance of the work done by our vaccinators across the board.

‘Immunisation is a choice but when you make the decision to get immunised, not only do you protect yourselves, you’re protecting your whānau, your whakapapa and your community. Every vaccine used in New Zealand is reviewed for safety and effectiveness before it’s approved, and it is monitored afterwards.’

Useful resources

For questions about immunisation, people should talk to their health professional or call 0800 IMMUNE, or visit the Immunisation section.

More information about World Immunisation Week is available on the WHO’s website.

More information about the COVID-19 vaccine is available on the Ministry of Health website.