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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
Source: ProCare

ProCare welcomes PHARMAC’s decision to extend funding for this flu season to 55-64 year old Māori and Pacific people. This decision comes not long after consultation closed in which ProCare submitted in support.

Bindi Norwell, Chief Executive at ProCare says: “We are thrilled that PHARMAC has listened to feedback and granted funding for 55-64 year old Māori and Pacific people. This will provide free influenza vaccines for about 39,000 more people which is critical at a time where immunity is low.”

There are concerns about lower immunity given the lack of exposure to the flu in the last two years during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mask-wearing, social distancing, increased hand hygiene and lack of international travel has meant the flu has not circulated in our communities like previous years. As the borders open up and restrictions ease, it’s possible there will be a resurgence of the flu this year.

Dr Sue Wells, Associate Clinical Director at ProCare, says: “We know people are feeling fatigued from COVID-19 and the effects it’s had on our daily lives. A simple flu vaccine can give you some peace of mind going into winter that you are protected.”

Other countries have taken similar actions, with UK government expanding flu vaccine funding for 50-64 year olds as hospitalisation from COVID-19 also increases from the age of 50 years onwards. Modelling in the UK also predicts flu infections could increase by 50% on previous years, with the flu season potentially starting earlier than normal.

“Our practices are gearing up for the flu season and will be able to take bookings from 1 April 2022. We really encourage our communities to protect themselves against the flu, particularly those with diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular issues or if they are currently pregnant,” says Norwell.

Flu vaccinations will be available from general practices from 1 April 2022.

About ProCare

ProCare is a leading healthcare provider that aims to deliver the most progressive, pro-active and equitable health and wellbeing services in Aotearoa. We do this through our clinical support services, mental health and wellness services, virtual/tele health, mobile health, smoking cessation and by taking a population health and equity approach to our mahi. As New Zealand’s largest Primary Health Organisation, we represent a network of general practice teams and healthcare professionals who provide care to more than 830,000 people. These practices serve the largest Pacific and South Asian populations enrolled in general practice and the largest Māori population in Tāmaki Makaurau. For more information go to