Shoo the flu

Top left: Susan Egan - Infection Prevention and Clinical Nurse Specialist, Kelsey Mettner – Emergency Department Nurse, Jaki Boyle – Clinical Nurse Manager, Karen MacDonald - Emergency Department Nurse, Rosie Steenhuisen – Emergency Department Nurse, Cathy Brown – Occupational Health Nurse.

Bottom left: Bev Wilson – Receptionist, Sarah Kapene – Emergency Department Nurse, Jackie Clapperton – St John Paramedic/ Emergency Nurse Practitioner


APRIL is the best time to get your annual flu shot so you're protected before flu season strikes this winter. Flu vaccines have arrived to general practices and pharmacies this week.

Vaccination for staff at Hauora Tairāwhiti starts this week and keeping vulnerable people in our care safe this flu season is a priority, as well as keeping staff protected from illness.

Hauora Tairāwhiti Occupational Health Nurse, Cathy Brown said “To get maximum coverage of staff vaccinated, we hold vaccination clinics in each area of the hospital across the week. It’s actually a really big event for our organisation as we have a large role to play in keeping the people in our care safe this flu season.”

For the last six years, Hauora Tairāwhiti has had the highest percentage of staff immunised against influenza out of all New Zealand district health boards. Last year, 88% of all Hauora Tairāwhiti staff rolled up their sleeves to protect themselves and the people they care for.

“Many people we care for are vulnerable and have weakened immune systems” says Medical Officer of Health, Dr Margot McLean.

“It is particulary important that our hapū/pregnant mothers get vaccinated as they can become extremely ill.

“The influenza virus can be anywhere. It is easy to catch through coughs and sneezes and by touching some surfaces. Being fit and healthy won’t stop you getting the flu.

“Around one in four New Zealanders are infected with flu each year. Eighty percent of those people infected with the flu won’t feel sick at all but can still pass it on to others. Once it has spread, the flu has a serious effect on our community.

“People often believe the flu vaccine will make them sick. This is incorrect as the vaccine is made from an inactive virus that cannot turn into influenza.

“Flu viruses are mostly spread by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. That’s why it’s important to try and keep several metres from others when you are unwell to reduce the spread of the virus.”

Where can I get a flu shot?

The vaccine is available free from general practices and pharmacies for those eligible, or for a small fee for everyone else which ranges from $25. Please phone your General Practice or Pharmacy if you would like to have the flu shot.   

You are eligible for a free vaccine if you’re in one of these groups: 

  • Anyone aged 65 years or over
  • Pregnant women (any stage of pregnancy)
  • People with chronic or serious health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, severe asthma or respiratory disease. People in this group need to see their doctor to get the vaccination.
  • Children aged four and under who have been hospitalised for respiratory illness or have a history of significant respiratory illness. People in this group need to see their doctor to get the vaccination.

Pregnant women can also get free flu immunisation from:

  • Their midwife at any point in pregnancy
  • In the Maternity Unit at Gisborne Hospital
  • Gisborne Hospital and Tūranga Health Antenatal Clinic

If you don’t qualify for a free immunisation from your doctor, nurse or pharmacist, you may still be able to get one free from your employer. Please encourage your whānau members who can get the free flu shot to see their doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

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