Influenza vaccinations for 2020

2.1 million doses of influenza vaccine were available in the 2020 flu season. More than any year before.

Early vaccine distribution

Delivery of the influenza vaccine was scheduled to start on 1 April 2020. This changed as the COVID-19 pandemic began to unfold in early 2020.

While the flu vaccine isn't effective against COVID-19, we still wanted people vaccinated. It meant fewer people would need to be hospitalised with the flu. To support New Zealand's pandemic response, the Ministry of Health brought forward 2020 influenza vaccination season by 2 weeks.

Starting early meant there was some pressure on early supplies of the vaccine. When the funded vaccine programme began, just under 900,000 influenza vaccines were available in New Zealand.

Unprecedented demand

We'd originally secured 1.74 million doses of the vaccine. This was a 30% increase over the number of doses for 2019. As the pandemic progressed, we saw that this was not going to be enough.

The Ministry of Health and PHARMAC secured some additional vaccine stock. The Ministry of Health co-ordinated the distribution of the influenza vaccine.  

Read the news story – Ministry of Health website(external link)

As at 1 July 2020, 1.77 million doses had been distributed. This is more than in any previous year. As the graph below demonstrates, distribution has happened earlier and faster than in previous years. 

Graph demonstrates that in 2020 more vaccines were distributed earlier than in any of the earlier years.
Influenza Doses Distributed by calendar day, cumulative all brands: 2017–2020 as at 1 July 2020

Further information

Find more detailed information on the influenza season vaccination programme:

Influenza – IMAC website for health care providers(external link)

Fight Flu – IMAC website for the public(external link)

Who to contact

If you want to get vaccinated, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.