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Free Flu Vaccines For More Cantabrians This Year - New To Under 18s

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Free Flu Vaccines For More Cantabrians This Year - New To Under 18s

Canterbury has taken plenty of knocks in the last six months and health leaders are encouraging Cantabrians to get vaccinated against the flu to stay strong through this winter period.

As a New Zealand first, Canterbury residents aged under 18 years are eligible for free flu vaccine this season. This shows the Canterbury Health system's desire to protect our community against avoidable illnesses.

Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ramon Pink says the flu season has begun in Canterbury with several cases already confirmed.

Damage from the September 4 and February 22 earthquakes has changed a lot of Cantabrian's living conditions that will make them more vulnerable to catching the flu.

"The concern this winter is that because of the earthquake many of us are living much closer together in more crowded houses and in improvised office spaces and classrooms, Dr Pink says.

"Some homes might also be colder this winter, increasing the impact of flu on people who are more likely to develop complications. Children are especially vulnerable. There is benefit to both preschool aged children who are vaccinated and their families. With older school aged children sharing campuses and buses and good hand hygiene being more difficult to practice, the flu virus can spread more easily between people.

"We urge all people living in Canterbury to think about their families this winter and get vaccinated. A lot of people may feel a bit run down after the earthquake and the stress that has resulted. This makes them more prone to getting viruses like the flu. Even if you had a vaccination last year, you still need to have another one. It takes two weeks before the vaccination protects you from the flu, so best to get it done now. All you need to do is make an appointment at your local general practice."

The vaccine is already free to people aged over 65 years old, those under 65 years with a chronic health condition, as well as pregnant women.

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