RURAL residents aged nine and older will be able to get their influenza vaccination this month at a Tūranga Health drive-through clinic.
COVID-19 vaccinations, boosters, and COVID-19 paediatric vaccinations will also be available at the rural
This year Māori health organisation Tūranga Health in te Tairāwhiti has opted to make the vaccination available to people aged nine and older in rural settings.
Chief executive Reweti Ropiha says in an ordinary year anyone can become seriously ill from the influenza virus. “But this is not an ordinary year which is why we have decided to deliver the vaccine to rural whānau aged nine and older.”
“Influenza rates have been very low in the past two years due to lockdowns and border closures. While we
cannot predict how mild or severe a winter flu season will be, with the international borders now reopened
Aotearoa is again connected to the rest of the world.”
“With more Kiwis returning home and tourism increasing, rates of flu are expected to rise.”
Tūranga Health’s rural influenza drive-through vaccination clinics have been modelled on the successful
COVID-19 drive-through vaccination clinics held across the rohe for the past two years.
Mr Ropiha says the drive-through model makes sense for a number of reasons. “In the drive-through model members of the public go through the end-to-end vaccination process while in their vehicles. It’s a safe and efficient way to deliver the influenza vaccination without putting everyone at risk of infection from any of the respiratory illnesses circulating in the community right now.”
Mr Ropiha says anyone who wants to be protected from influenza this year can come through a rural clinic.
Tūranga Health’s Dr Patrick McHugh says the influenza vaccine can be safely administered at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine - whether that be a booster shot or paediatric vaccine.
“You can have a COVID-19 vaccine or booster at the same time as your flu vaccine. There’s no need to leave a
gap between these vaccines.”
Dr McHugh says COVID-19 is still prevalent in Tairāwhiti with multiple cases being reported daily. He warns that the local prevalence of respiratory disease, along with international borders opening, means “we’ll see new and re-occurring strains of flu spreading in our community.”
“The flu can be serious and make people very unwell. It affects the whole body and can last up to a week or more. For best protection it's best to get the flu jab before winter.”
In some cases, the flu can put people in hospital – particularly if you are 65 or older or are Māori or Pacific. In
severe cases, the flu can be fatal.
The rural influenza drive-through vaccination clinics will be in Te Karaka, Waihirere, Manutuke, Patutahi,
Muriwai, Matawai and Waerenga-o-Kuri. Keep an eye on the turangahealth.co.nz home page for locations and
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