Can I Get a Free Immunisation?

Influenza immunisation is FREE for people who are most at risk

Influenza immunisation is available for eligible people, as they are at greatest risk of serious illness from influenza, and healthcare workers from 18 March 2020.

  • Eligible people, as detailed below, are those entitled to a FREE influenza immunisation. 
  • Influenza immunisation is available at general practices for eligible people  aged 3 years or older.
    • Influenza immunisation for children aged 6 months to 35 months will be available from 1 April 2020.
  • Many community pharmacies also provide influenza immunisation for eligible people aged 13 years or older.
  • The Ministry of Health has asked that general practices, pharmacies and occupational health providers defer influenza immunisation for people who purchase the vaccine until mid-April, to allow eligible people and healthcare workers to have priority access.

Influenza immunisation is recommended and FREE for people who are most likely to get very sick, be hospitalised or even die if they catch influenza. These are:

  • Pregnant women (any time during pregnancy).
  • People aged 65 years or older.
  • People aged under 65 years with diabetes, most heart or lung conditions and some other illnesses, see the table below for more details.
  • Children aged 4 years or under who have had a stay in hospital for asthma or other breathing problems.

For more information, talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist, or call 0800 466 863.

Funded influenza immunisation 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

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.

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