June 27, 2022
Tamariki in line for free flu shot
The Government is ramping up access to free flu vaccines and COVID-19 booster shots for those groups of people who are being admitted in increasing numbers to hospital.
Health Minister Andrew Little says flu shots will be free this season for 3 to 12 year olds, about 655,000 children.
Free vaccinations are also available for 2022 and for future seasons for people with schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder or anyone currently accessing secondary or tertiary mental health and addiction services.
Flu shots are already free for People aged 65 and over, Māori and Pacific people aged 55 and over, anyone who is pregnant and people with underlying health issues like asthma, diabetes, and heart disease.
Mr Little says in recent weeks a number of children have been hospitalised with flu, and children can be transmitters of the flu to others in their family who are more at risk, so it makes sense to reduce transmission as much as possible.
“The extension of the free flu vaccination to more at-risk New Zealanders is just one of the actions we are taking to reduce pressure on our health system this winter,” Mr Little said.
COVID-19 Response Minister Dr Ayesha Verrall said a second COVID-19 booster was available for everyone over the age of 50 and recommended for anyone over the age of 65, as well as Māori and Pacific peoples older than 50 and people who are severely immunocompromised.
“The availability of the second booster has also been extended to health, aged-care and disability workers over the age of 30,” Dr Verrall said.