6 Jul 2019

Flu vaccine: Thousands more doses available from mid-July

6:31 pm on 6 July 2019

The Health Ministry has secured 55,000 more doses of the flu vaccine.

Last month the Ministry of Health said the vaccine would be restricted to people eligible for publicly funded jabs, due to a nationwide shortage.

By the first week of June, Pharmac had sent out more than 1.26 million doses - almost as many as for all of last winter.

The ministry said it has worked closely with Pharmac to source and fund the additional vaccine.

The vaccine will be Sanofi's FluQuadri and is coming from Australia. It will be available from 15 July.

The ministry said that FluQuadri has been used previously in New Zealand, but had not completed Medsafe's approval process at the start of flu season.

It said that process has now been completed and the vaccine approved.

Health Minister David Clark said it had been challenging to source more vaccinations given there has been an increase in demand globally.

But the extra 55,000 doses will take the total number available to 1.38 million - more than any other year.

"It's really encouraging, especially considering the anti-vaxxer movement, the fact that more New Zealanders are choosing to get vaccinated and they're choosing to get it earlier.

"We're talking about here a potentially deadly disease that is not only deadly for the person who might get the vaccine, but also for those around them who might be health compromised and can't get it for themselves."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs