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HealthInfo Aoraki South Canterbury

Flu (influenza) vaccinations

Rongoā āraimate rewharewha

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 is free for high-risk groups, which are:

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

If you are not eligible for a free flu vaccination, you will still benefit from a vaccination. It is available at a small cost.

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

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

You can have a flu vaccination through your general practice team and at many pharmacies. Some workplaces provide vaccinations for their staff.

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

Side effects

You cannot catch the flu from the flu vaccine because it does not 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. You may also feel slightly unwell with fever, muscle aches, a headache and tiredness.

Allergic reactions to flu vaccination are rare and treatable. You will be asked to wait after your vaccination to be sure you do not have a reaction.


If you have 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 healthcare provider or see Flu (influenza) vaccine.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed July 2021. Last updated April 2024.


See also:

Flu (influenza)

Helping with fear of vaccination

Why you do not need antibiotics for your infection

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