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HealthInfo Canterbury

Flu (influenza) vaccinations

Rongoā āraimate rewharewha


From 1 April 2023, the eligibility for free flu vaccinations is being extended to tamariki (children) aged from 6 months to 12 years.

Most people will benefit from having a flu vaccination. The flu is a serious illness, especially for tamariki (children) and people with certain medical conditions.

The flu vaccination is available to anyone over the age of 6 months.

It's free for anyone who:

Free vaccinations for these high-risk groups are usually available from April through to 31 December each year.

If you aren't eligible for a free flu vaccination, you'll still benefit from a vaccination, which is available at a small cost.

The vaccine is different each flu season according to the type of flu that is in the community, so you need to have one every year. It takes two weeks for the vaccine to have its full effect.

While the flu vaccine reduces your chance of getting the flu and of becoming seriously unwell with the flu, some vaccinated people still get the flu.

You can have a flu vaccination through your general practice team, at many pharmacies or your workplace may provide a vaccination.

You can also book your flu vaccination either on its own or at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine via Book my vaccine.

Side effects

You cannot catch the flu from the flu vaccine because it doesn't contain any live virus.

Side effects are usually mild and only last a few days. They include redness, pain and swelling around where you had the injection and feeling slightly unwell with fever, muscle aches, a headache and tiredness.

Allergic reactions to flu vaccination are rare and treatable. You'll be asked to wait after your vaccination to be sure you don’t have a reaction.


If you've had a severe allergic reaction to a flu vaccination in the past, discuss this with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before being vaccinated.

Further information

For more information about flu vaccinations, talk to your general practice team or see Flu (influenza) vaccine on the Immunise NZ website.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed July 2021.


See also:

Flu (influenza)

Helping with fear of vaccination

Why you don't need antibiotics for your infection

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