Health Minister urging Kiwis to get flu vaccinations

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NZN

The government is looking to vaccinate 80 per cent of healthcare workers, with Health Minister David Clark leading the charge.

Mr Clark has rolled up a sleeve to receive the influenza jab to encourage more healthcare workers to get vaccinated to avoid passing the virus on to vulnerable patients.

The influenza season normally begins from June so it's important that people are vaccinated by mid-May, he says.

"Recent research shows about one in four New Zealanders are infected with influenza each winter, but many don't develop symptoms and may be unaware they're sick," he said.

"I hope this year is a record-breaker after more than 1.2 million New Zealanders got vaccinated last year, which was a fantastic effort,."

Around 400 people die of influenza or its complications each winter.

Over-65s, pregnant women and people with chronic or serious health conditions can receive the flu shot for free.

The vaccine is also available from GPs or community pharmacies for those eligible for free or a small fee.

Many employers offer the influenza vaccination to staff, which Mr Clark said was a great way to protect employees' health while reducing disruption during winter.

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