Gearing up for another bumper flu immunisation season


Gearing up for another bumper flu immunisation season

Media release from the Immunisation Advisory Centre
flu vaccine 2019, Kevin Saunders gets his annual influenza immunisation from nurse Kristine Reid [photo: supplied]
Kevin Saunders gets his annual influenza immunisation from nurse Kristine Reid [photo: supplied]

Vaccinators across New Zealand will receive their annual influenza immunisation ‘Flu Kit’ around mid-March this year.

A record 1.3 million doses of vaccine were distributed in New Zealand in 2018.

The ‘Flu Kit’ has been updated and provides vital information and samples of promotional resources. Additional resources will be available to order from early March through the Resources website page at

Promotional resources this year include new waiting room posters that will reflect New Zealand’s diverse population - the four-week TV ad campaign will begin on April 28.

“From 2019, the annual Influenza Immunisation Programme will start from April 1 each year, subject to influenza vaccine being available for distribution from then,” explains the chair of the Immunisation Advisory Centre’s National Influenza Strategy Group (NISG) Barbara McArdle.

“Changing to an April start date is intended to ensure that the vaccine remains as effective as possible during the peak incidence of influenza, which in recent years has occurred in late winter.”

Health experts in New Zealand have taken the decision to start vaccination later in the year after sector consultation and considering new clinical evidence that shows maximum protection from influenza is seen around two weeks after vaccination and starts to decline by about seven percent per month from then.

Importantly, the rate of decline in protection is more prominent and rapid in those aged 65 and older and the very young.

“By changing the programme start date we aim to provide better protection for our most vulnerable populations, the elderly and very young,” says Ms McArdle.

Additional information

Funded influenza vaccines for 2019:

INFLUVAC® TETRA (quadrivalent)
For adults and children aged 3 years or older.

FLUARIX® TETRA (quadrivalent)
For children aged under 3 years, i.e. 6–35 months.

The influenza strains included in the 2019 quadrivalent vaccines are the:

  • A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus
  • A/Switzerland/8060/2017 (H3N2)-like virus (new strain)
  • B/Colorado/06/2017-like virus (new strain)
  • B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus

Orders for influenza vaccines can be placed from March 1, 2019.

Healthcare Logistics (HCL). You can order in two ways:

(preferred option, registration required)

TOLL-FREE fax: 0508 408 358

The order form is available on page eight of the Flu Kit and on the Resources page at

Vaccine order enquiries: Phone: 0508 425 358.

Influenza vaccines will be delivered when stock is available and has been released by the Ministry of Health.

For influenza vaccination eligibility, clinical queries and general information please contact: The Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC), The University of Auckland

Phone: 0800IMMUNE (0800 466 863)