I’m writing to you to give you an update on the influenza vaccination programme and an important change we need you all to be aware of. Please ensure you forward this message on to all GPs and Pharmacists administering vaccinations.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Health brought the start of the vaccination programme forward by two weeks. In this early phase we are focused on providing vaccinations for those who are most vulnerable - those over 65, pregnant women and others with underlying health conditions, as well as healthcare and other front-line workers.
The Ministry had previously stated that vaccinations should only be provided for these priority groups until 13 April and be opening up to the general population after that. In order to ensure that everyone in the priority populations have had adequate opportunity to receive their vaccination, this date is being moved to 27 April.
We urge providers to ensure Māori and Pacific communities are protected, as their immunisation rates have historically been significantly lower than those of the wider population.
The Ministry has heard reports of some providers vaccinating outside of the priority groups as noted above. Every vaccine given to a healthy adult is one that can't be given to someone at greater risk of serious illness. We all need to work together to protect our most vulnerable.
Vaccinations for everyone else will depend on the Ministry being confident that the priority groups have been vaccinated.
Wherever possible, we ask that providers make sure they record influenza vaccination on the NIR. The NIR is the most accurate source of information for the Ministry about how many vaccines have been administered and how many are still likely to be in circulation and guides our decision-making.