Can I Get a Free Vaccine

You could come in contact with influenza at anytime

Around one in four New Zealanders are infected with influenza each year. Many people won’t feel sick at all, but can still pass it on to others. Influenza can be anywhere. Contact with the influenza virus is almost unavoidable, and while contact does not necessarily mean infection, it does mean that you are  never far from the possibility of catching influenza. 

Get immunised early before winter

There are even more ways to get immunised in 2019:

  • To find a doctor in your area click here.
  • Click on this link for a list of pharmacies offering flu vaccinations this year, or
  • this link for a list of companies that offer workplace flu vaccinations.

The Influenza Immunisaton Programme began on 1 April. Now is the best time to be immunised against influenza.

Click on the link to open the  Flu can be anywhere brochure.

A  general flu inflormation leaflet is available in the languages below:

Influenza immunisation is FREE for people who are most at risk

Almost everyone can benefit from the protection of annual influenza immunisation.

The vaccine is especially important for people at risk of serious complications from influenza including people with any of the conditions listed in the table below:

Funded influenza vaccine criteria as set by PHARMAC:

1. People 65 years of age and over; or
2. People under 65 years of age who
  • have any of the following cardiovascular diseases:
    • ischaemic heart disease, or
    • congestive heart failure, or
    • rheumatic heart disease, or
    • congenital heart disease, or
    • cerebrovascular disease; or
  • have either of the following chronic respiratory diseases:
    • asthma, if on a regular preventative therapy, or
    • other chronic respiratory disease with impaired lung function;(a) or
  • have diabetes; or
  • have chronic renal disease; or
  • have any cancer, please refer to the vaccine precaution below#, excluding basal and squamous skin cancers if not invasive; or
  • have any of the following other conditions:
    • autoimmune disease(b), or
    • immune suppression or immune deficiency, or
    • HIV, or

 

    • transplant recipients, or
    • neuromuscular and CNS diseases/disorders(c), or
    • haemoglobinopathies(d), or
    • children on long-term aspirin, or
    • a cochlear implant, or
    • error of metabolism at risk of major metabolic decompensation, or
    • pre and post splenectomy, or
    • Down syndrome, or
  • pregnant women (any trimester); or
3. Children aged 4 years or under who have been hospitalised for respiratory illness or have a history of significant respiratory illness;

4. Please note: From 1 April 2019, PHARMAC removed the influenza vaccine eligibility criteria for people under 18 years of age living in Seddon, Kaikoura and Hurunui areas. 
The standard eligibility criteria for people aged 6 months to under 18 years continues to apply in these regions.

 

Unless meeting the criteria set out above, the following conditions are excluded from funding:

  • asthma not requiring regular preventative therapy
  • hypertension and/or dyslipidaemia without evidence of end-organ disease
Also refer to the New Zealand Pharmaceutical Schedule on the PHARMAC website.
a. Chronic respiratory diseases may include: chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, emphysema.
b. Autoimmune diseases may include: coeliac disease, Crohns disease, Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis: Immune suppression or immune deficiency includes diseases modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS) or targeted biologic therapies.
c. Neuromuscular and CNS diseases/disorders include: celebral palsy, congenital myopathy, epilepsy, hydrocephaly, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, myasthenia gravis, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury.
d. Haemoglobinopathies including: sickle cell anaemia, thalassemia.

If you do not have one of these eligible conditions, you still benefit from an influenza immunisation.

Ready to get immunised? Find a healthcare professional near you.