This year’s flu vaccine rollout is a bit different to previous years, not just because of the concurrent COVID vaccine rollout, but also due to the introduction of a new flu vaccine specifically for people aged over 65.
The new flu vaccine is called Fluad Quad, and it is only approved for use in people aged over 65. It contains a special adjuvant ingredient to boost the immune response, to help increase the effectiveness in the elderly. This vaccine is being prioritised and to start mid April. For people under 65, they will receive the usual Afluria Quad vaccine, and this is to start mid May.
As with previous years, people aged over 65 or in any of the high risk groups below are eligible for a free flu vaccine.
- Pregnant women
- Children under 5 years old with serious lung conditions
- People with asthma, heart disease, diabetes and other health conditions that make them more susceptible to influenza
Please note that there should be at least a 2 week gap between having the flu vaccine and having the COVID vaccine, and the flu vaccine cannot be given between the 2 doses of the COVID vaccine.
The COVID vaccine being given in New Zealand is the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, and it is being administrated by the DHB and not at the local GP clinics. See here for specific information about the COVID vaccine rollout in Auckland. According to the Ministry of Health, people aged over 65 or with significant health conditions should start to get invitations from May 2021, and the general population from July 2021. Unfortunately we have no influence on the vaccine rollout process or any more information than what is provided in the links above.