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HealthInfo West Coast-Te Tai Poutini

Flu (influenza) vaccinations

There is currently a nationwide shortage of the flu vaccine. For the rest of this year's flu season, vaccinations will be limited to the groups most of risk of becoming very unwell with the flu. These are people over 65, pregnant women and people with ongoing medical conditions.

Everyone should help prevent the spread of the flu by using disposable tissues and covering your mouth or nose when coughing or sneezing. You should also use good hand hygiene to stop the spread through contact with others.

Call your GP for advice rather than visit if you think you may have the flu and stay away from the hospital unless it’s an emergency. Stay away from work or school if you’re sick. If you have to leave the house, wear a face mask if you have one.

Most people will benefit from having a flu vaccination. The flu is a serious illness, especially for children and people with certain medical conditions. The West Coast DHB recommends that all West Coast residents, including children, are vaccinated against the flu.

The flu vaccination is free for any West Coast resident who:

See Fightflu for a list of who can get a free flu vaccination.

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 an vaccination, which is available at a small cost.

Protect yourself and your family – have the flu vaccination and stay well

Call your doctor for an appointment to have the vaccination. Don't delay – it takes two weeks before the vaccine fully protects you. The vaccine is different each flu season according to the type of flu that's in the community so you need to have one each year.

For more information about flu vaccinations, talk to your general practice team or see


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.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Adapted by the West Coast DHB. Last reviewed May 2018. Last updated June 2019.

See also:

Flu (influenza)

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Page reference: 440834

Review key: HIFVA-47259