New Zealand’s 2022 flu campaign starts on 1 April. While everyone can get a flu vaccine from this date, the Ministry of Health is encouraging the health sector to proactively reach out to at-risk groups and offer funded flu vaccines as soon as possible. The eligibility criteria is the same as previous years (funded for 65+, pregnant people, immunocompromised people, children under four years who have serious respiratory illness). Pharmac recently consulted on widening access to include 55 to 64 year old Māori and Pacific people (to reduce the impact of influenza to high-risk populations during the COVID-19 pandemic). A decision is pending.
A national advertising campaign promoting flu vaccines will start on 1 April. This campaign will encourage uptake, particularly amongst at-risk populations.. The Ministry is encouraging providers to take a whānau-centred approach and use the flu campaign as an opportunity to immunise all family members who are overdue or eligible for Covid-19, MMR and any other missed vaccinations.
Clinical and operational guidance for 2022 influenza vaccines will soon be available via the IMAC website, but in the meantime GPs may like to review the Influenza pages on HealthPathways.
The Ministry is developing a National Immunisation Solution (NIS) which will replace the National Immunisation Register (NIR). NIS’ initial rollout will support the 2022 influenza campaign capturing flu vaccines delivered. GPs with electronically linked PMS’ that report onto the NIR will continue to record flu vaccinations as usual. If you don’t have a PMS integrated with the NIR, you will be contacted and offered support for capturing your flu vaccination records. Question about this can be directed to NIS.firstname.lastname@example.org