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Winter will be here soon and with it, comes the flu.

Every year the flu causes people to become sick with a cough and feel unwell. Some New Zealanders need to be admitted to hospital and in some cases, it can even cause death.
The flu tends to be worse for some groups of people.
In particular kaumātua and kuia, and those who already have some other medical conditions such like diabetes, heart or lung disease like asthma or COPD.

Hapū māmā and young tamariki can also be affected badly.

Homeless people or those who live in cold, damp houses, or where there is overcrowding, are also more at risk of a more severe flu illness.

The same things that help to prevent the spread of COVID-19, like washing your hands, and coughing and sneezing into your elbows also help prevent the spread of flu to others.

The flu vaccine is the best way to help prevent getting sick with the flu.

With the arrival of COVID-19 to Aotearoa, getting a flu vaccination to keep you well is even more important now than ever before.

The flu vaccine will not protect you from COVID-19 but it will help keep you and your whānau healthy during the winter.

Flu vaccines are available for FREE for kaumātua and kuia over the age of 65 years old and people with or who have:
  • diabetes

  • chronic kidney problems

  • cancer

  • suffered a stroke

  • some heart conditions including a previous heart attack

  • heart failure or cardiomyopathy

  • some lung issues.

It is also free for:
  • Hapū māmā

  • Tamariki who are under 4 years old with a history of respiratory illness.

If this sounds like you or a whānau member, and you are currently well, contact your GP or local pharmacy as soon as possible to organise getting your free flu vaccine now.

It’s important to know that even in ‘shut down’ most of us can leave our whare to get medicines from the pharmacy, or to see a doctor or GP.

Please make sure you call your doctor or local pharmacy first to check when and where to go. 

Getting a flue vaccine will help to keep yourself and your whānau safe from flu this winter.


If you or someone in your whānau has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or if you have been in contact with someone who has had COVID-19 in the last 2 weeks, please call the Healthline on 0800 358 5453 for advice first.

Updated: Monday 27 April 2020

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