Due to Covid-19 lockdowns, social distancing, and mask use in 2020 and 2021 our recent exposure to the Influenza virus has been limited but this winter with our boarders re-opened and more normal levels of social interaction the “gloves are off” and the flu is now circulating widely in our communities.
Although the over 60s seem to be the most vulnerable when it comes to flu, the very young, the frail, anyone with other medical conditions, and pregnant women are most at risk if things go wrong.
The flu is a nasty illness and having the flu (the real flu) makes you very sick – it’s not possible to work, and in some cases the outcome can be dire. The best protection on offer is the flu jab, and for many it is free. It takes two weeks to acquire immunity, so for those who have not been vaccinated yet, don’t leave it too much longer. The peak of the flu season is usually July-August.
Who is eligible for a Free flu shot?
- Children aged 3-12 years
- Pregnant people
- Over 65s
- Māori or Pasifika aged 55+
- People with serious mental health or addiction needs.
- A long list of underlying health conditions – check out health.govt.nz for more information.
When you should see the GP or Nurse Practitioner:
- if you have a high fever that doesn’t subside
- chills or severe shaking
- difficulty breathing or chest pain
- purple or bluish discolouration of lips, skin, fingers, or toes
- seizures or convulsions.
Seek urgent advice if your baby or child is:
- breathing fast or noisily, wheezing or grunting
- very pale
- drowsy or difficult to wake
- severely irritable and doesn’t want to be held
- limp or unable to move
- has dry nappies or no tears when crying, which means they are dehydrated
- other signs of serious conditions, such as meningococcal disease.
Second COVID-19 boosters
A second booster is recommended for those at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (a minimum of 6 months after a first booster).
The following people are recommended to receive a second booster as a priority:
- people aged 65 years and over
- Māori and Pacific peoples aged 50 years and over
- residents of aged care and disability care facilities
- severely immunocompromised people who received a three-dose primary course and a fourth dose as a first booster (noting this would be a fifth dose for these people)
- people aged 16 years and over who have a medical condition that increases the risk of severe breakthrough COVID-19 illness and
- people aged 16 years and over who live with disability with significant or complex health needs or multiple comorbidities.
In addition, a second booster is available for:
- all people aged over 50 years
- health, aged care, and disability workers aged over 30 years.
If you have already had Covid-19 you will need to wait for 3 months before receiving your next eligible dose.
Twizel Medical Centre is running Covid Vaccination Clinics each Tuesday between 1pm and 2:30pm. Book your booster now at bookmyvaccine.nz or by calling 0800 28 29 26