Health officials prioritising who gets flu jab as stock runs low

New Zealand's flu vaccine stores are getting low, with vaccinators being asked to prioritise who gets the jab.

The Ministry of Health Deputy Director Public Health Harriette Carr says the Ministry's is pleased with the high uptake of flu vaccine this year, but, "because of continued high demand, there is a need for awareness around remaining stock limits".

"To make sure those most in need can get the vaccine, at this time the Ministry has asked General Practices and Pharmacists to prioritise those who're eligible for publicly funded vaccines," Ms Carr says.

"That means pregnant women, those aged 65 and over, children 4 and under with serious respiratory illnesses and people with severe asthma, heart disease, diabetes and other serious health conditions making them more susceptible to flu."

The ministry is continuing to work with PHARMAC on the possibility of sourcing new stock, and with healthcare providers on managing existing stock, Ms Carr says.

About 1.26 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed throughout the country already - close to 2018's all-time record of 1.3 million doses for the entire season and exceeding the Ministry’s distribution target.

Ms Carr recommended people also take measures, including washing hands, safe sneezing, and staying home if you're unwell, to prevent the spread of illness during the flu season.

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Three Kiwis have already died of influenza this season. Source: Seven Sharp

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