2023 Flu season

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

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Every year Pharmac funds an influenza vaccine for people who meet the eligibility criteria. The currently funded vaccine for people aged from 3 years old is called Afluria Quad. Afluria Quad Junior is funded for children between 6 and 35 months old.

Find out who can get a free flu jab - Ministry of Health(external link)

The Schedule listing includes eligibility criteria(external link) 

Widened access

From 1 July 2022, we widened access permanently for people with specific mental health or addiction issues.

For the 2023 season, we widened access to the influenza vaccine for:

  • all Māori and Pacific people aged 55 to 64 years of age
  • all children under 12 years of age.

We estimate that an extra 870,000 people will be eligible to get funded vaccines. 

Widened access to support the health system

Te Whatu Ora and the Public Health Agency have advised that influenza illness could put additional strain on the health sector this winter. The sector is expected to be under pressure managing hospitalisations from COVID-19 this winter. 

We widened access for people most at risk to help reduce hospitalisations during winter.

We may consider further widening of access in the future. We would take into consideration any issues facing the health sector and other funding options that Pharmac may be considering at the time. 

Pharmac widens flu vaccine access as a push to increase uptake 


This year, suppliers will make available about 1.8 million vaccine doses. In 2022, 1.68 million doses were distributed. 

Planning for flu vaccine ordering and manufacturing happens many months before the start of the flu season. Flu vaccine suppliers start their planning about 12 months before the flu season starts each year. The final quantity of vaccine to be made for the season is usually confirmed by the end of September. Manufacturers can’t make more flu vaccine during the flu season if demand is higher than forecast because the manufacturers are busy making vaccine for the Northern Hemisphere season.

Influenza vaccine: Pharmac’s role

Graph shows that 2023 saw more vaccines in arms earlier than previous years. .
Influenza vaccine doses distributed by calendar day in 2023, 2022 and 2021 (cumulative) (as at 17 July 2023)

Who to contact

If you have questions about flu vaccine funding, email enquiry@pharmac.govt.nz