Getting the flu jab

Although having the flu jab doesn’t guarantee you won’t catch the flu, it will give you more protection and reduce the symptoms if you do catch it.

In 2022, all people aged 65 and over are eligible for the free flu jab.

For Māori and Pacific people, the free flu vaccination is available from 55 years. 

For the best protection, get the flu jab before the start of winter.

You can get your free flu jab from your GP or healthcare provider. Many pharmacies also offer the free flu vaccine.

The flu jab is also free for those with underlying health conditions and if you’re pregnant.

Prevent flu

Getting a flu jab helps reduce your risk of getting really sick or having to go to hospital.

The flu virus affects your whole body. Symptoms come on suddenly and can include fever, chills, muscle aches, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath, and stomach upsets. It can keep you in bed for a week or more.

It can give you pneumonia. And in severe cases means a hospital stay – particularly if you’re older, a young child, pregnant, or have an ongoing medical condition, such as heart disease or diabetes. Sometimes the flu can be fatal – around 500 people die from the flu every year, with hundreds more hospitalised.

Increased flu risk with the New Zealand border opening

As people in Aotearoa emerge from their bubbles, there’s a much bigger chance of catching the flu.

Pandemic measures like mask wearing and hand hygiene mean we’ve had very little influenza circulating in New Zealand for the past two years, so community immunity is lower than usual. And, with international borders opening, we’ll see new strains of flu spreading in our communities.

Reduce the spread of flu to friends and whānau

Getting a flu jab each year is the best way to stop flu from spreading.

Around four out of five people with flu have no symptoms and don’t know they can be spreading the virus to other people.

Being vaccinated reduces the risk of accidentally passing the flu to your whānau, friends, and your community.