Expansion of flu vaccine funding criteria

5 July 2022

Provided by Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand

Last Friday (1 July), around 800,000 more people became eligible for funded flu vaccines, with the expansion of the funding criteria to include 3-12 year-olds and people with serious mental health and addiction needs. 

Boosting uptake tamariki under 3

While the public focus has been on eligibility for funded flu vaccines for tamariki over 3 years old, we also need to ensure tamariki between six months and three years are protected. 

As the only professionals currently able to vaccinate this group, primary care workers have a central role to play in protecting our tamariki. Whatever you and your colleagues can do to boost vaccination rates for this group will make a major difference this winter. 

Many tamariki in this 6-month to 3-years group are eligible for free vaccines due to underlying health issues such as asthma or any visit to hospital with a respiratory illness. We have ample Afluria Quad Junior vaccine stock to cover this group, so we encourage you to use a high trust model. If the opportunity arises to vaccinate a child in this age group, please vaccinate rather than delaying. The same approach applies if you don’t have access to a child’s records. 

Influenza vaccine distribution 

The National Immunisation Programme has supported PHARMAC by distributing influenza vaccines through our separate COVID-19 vaccine distribution network and transferring low North Island COVID-19 vaccine to distribute from the South Island Hub. Currently, there are no significant issues with the network. 

Thank you

We want to extend our sincere thanks to the GP community, and all our colleagues working in community clinics, for their work this winter. This flu season is proving to be a challenging one and we appreciate the pressures you are facing. We are deeply grateful for the central role you play in protecting our tamariki, their whānau, and their broader communities.