New Zealand / Health

Ministry revises timeframe for this year's influenza immunisation rollout

20:00 pm on 31 March 2021

The Ministry of Health has revised the timeframe for this year's rollout of the influenza immunisation programme, due to begin in two weeks.

(File image). Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Priority will be for those aged 65 and over in mid-April (from 14 April), followed by other groups in May.

The ministry put the one-month delay of the usual schedule down to international availability of the vaccine.

More than 2.4 million doses of the influenza vaccine have been secured - almost 300,000 doses more than last year's supply.

Public Health director Caroline McElnay said a record number of people were immunised last year, more than 1.77 million, despite low numbers of reported cases of the flu.

"This shows people heeded the call to protect themselves and others from flu, and protect capacity in the health system.

"Yesterday we informed health professionals and other stakeholders of the revised timeframe for this year's rollout."

The Covid-19 immunisation campaign will take priority for some district health boards over the coming months, the ministry said.

The Measles, Mumps and Rubella 'catch up' campaign will ramp up again in October, and will focus on GP and pharmacy-based immunisation.