On 15th March 2017 Pharmac, the purchaser of New Zealand’s Medication and Medical Devices, including vaccinations, announced that Community Pharmacies are now able to provide funded (free) vaccinations for pregnant women and those aged over 65 from 1 April 2017.
This is great news as it makes vaccination services more accessible and offers a greater choice of health–care provider for patients.
This means if you are pregnant or over 65 then you can receive a FREE FLU vaccination at your local accredited community pharmacy. Westbury Pharmacy has been an approved accredited provider of vaccinations since 2014 and under this arrangement will be able to provide funded free flu vaccinations from 1 April 2017.
This means no more waiting for an appointment at your local General Practitioner, just come into Westbury Pharmacy for a consultation and vaccination. No appointment necessary.
You can spread the flu to people, including your family/whanau and friends, who are at most risk of complications
While general health affects the severity of an infection, the influenza virus is contagious and anyone can become infected.
Influenza is more than just a ‘bad cold’. Although some of the symptoms are the same, influenza is usually much more severe. Symptoms of influenza include a cough, headache, fever or chills, body aches and pains, fatigue and generally feeling miserable.
Influenza, commonly called the flu, can be a serious illness that is sometimes fatal.
Even if you do not end up in hospital, influenza can keep you in bed for a week or more, preventing you from doing work, sport or just about anything that requires leaving the house.
The flu spreads from person to person. The influenza virus is transferred in droplets of moisture expelled through breathing, coughing and sneezing. The virus is spread when a person touches any droplets which contain the influenza virus and then touch their mouth, nose or eyes before washing their hands.
Influenza can affect anyone, no matter how fit, active and healthy they may be. Although people with underlying health conditions are most at risk from influenza associated complications, previously healthy people can still become seriously ill an even die.
It has been estimated that influenza contributes to hospitalisation in 327 per 100,000 in elderly people and 244 per 100,000 infants under 1 year of age.
We cannot predict from year to year how severe the influenza season may be. The flu virus can change yearly and new strains can emerge to which people are not immune.
To maintain the most effective protection against influenza, annual immunisation is required.
It takes around two weeks to develop immunity once vaccinated. Ideally, immunisation should be carried out before the main influenza activity in May to September. People can be immunised at any time during the influenza season, but the vaccine is only free for those in the high-risk groups until the end of July.
Seasonal influenza vaccinations are recognised as being the single most effective way of reducing the impact of seasonal influenza – especially for those most at risk of complications.