More options for pregnant women and 65+ to get funded influenza vaccines
Funded influenza vaccinations will be available from more community pharmacies this year.
Most people receive their influenza vaccination from general practice, and some DHBs have been trialling funded influenza vaccine through pharmacy in past years. PHARMAC’s decision now makes it easier for pharmacies to provide funded influenza vaccine for people 65 and over, and pregnant women from 1 April.
More than a million New Zealanders receive influenza vaccine each year, most of them Government-funded. Currently people able to get Government-funded influenza vaccine include people 65 and over, pregnant women, and people with chronic conditions such as asthma, heart disease and diabetes.
PHARMAC Deputy Medical Director Dr Bryan Betty says the move aims to increase options for people to receive a funded influenza vaccine.
“The flu is a serious condition that results in time off work, hospitalisations and even deaths each year,” Dr Betty says. “This step aims to make it easier for people to get a subsidised vaccine, will lift the rate of influenza vaccination, and reduce the impact of this highly contagious illness each year.”
“Only pharmacists who are trained pharmacist vaccinators will be able to provide a subsidised vaccine. This means that people can have confidence in the expertise of the person delivering the vaccine.”
“Feedback on the proposal was positive from the pharmacy sector and others, but some feedback questioned the nature of the service shift,” says Dr Betty.
“We appreciate the feedback we received. We have shared these views with the Ministry of Health to consider in the wider context of service delivery and funding within the system.”
“This step seeks to make better use of health professionals’ skills, and improve health services for New Zealanders. This is part of any good system – ensuring it evolves and adapts to meet the changing needs of the population.”
Last year, about 1.2 million New Zealanders received an influenza vaccine (funded and unfunded).