Influenza - what you need to know

Can I get the flu shot for free?

Flu immunisation is currently free for eligible Hawke's Bay residents from your doctor, nurse or qualified vaccinating pharmacist:

  • Pregnant women (any time during pregnancy).
  • People aged 65 years or older.
  • People aged under 65 years with diabetes, most heart or lung conditions and some other illnesses, see the table below for more details.
  • Children aged 4 years or under who have had a stay in hospital for measles, asthma or other breathing problems

Click here for more information on who's eligible, or call 0800 466 863.

Click here for a list of pharmacies providing flu vaccinations in Hawke's Bay


Can pregnant women be immunised against the flu?

YES. It is strongly recommended. Pregnant women are more likely to get severe complications from influenza than non-pregnant women, and it can be dangerous for their unborn baby too. Protection passed from the mother in pregnancy can protect her newborn as well. The flu vaccine has been proven to have an excellent safety record for both pregnant women and their unborn babies.

Can the vaccine give me influenza?

NO. You cannot get influenza from the vaccine, as it does not contain any live viruses. Some people may experience mild reactions such as muscle aches or headaches for a short time after immunisation, and they may think this is the flu – but it’s not.

Can I build up my immunity to influenza naturally?

YES. With immunisation! Immunisation prepares your own natural immune system to fight influenza. Your immunity develops after you have been exposed to a particular strain of the flu virus either through getting the flu or being immunised. Natural remedies will not give you any protection against flu.

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