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The Canterbury District Health Board is asking Mid Canterbury people and others around the regional to be patient while delays with the distribution of the flu vaccine are resolved.
Stock has been held up in the supply chain, affecting DHBs around the country. This means a significant number of general practice teams and pharmacies do not have vaccine available at the moment to fulfil the demand from the community.
Some Ashburton practices have received some stock and been vaccinating elderly and vulnerable patients in drive-thru clinics.
Local doctors are pleading with people not to jam up telephone lines into medical centres to ask when it will be their turn. Centres will advise when people should come in.
“It’s great that Cantabrians are keen to do the right thing and get their flu vaccine early this year. It is, however, unfortunate that we are unable to meet the demand at this time,” said Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Ramon Pink.
According to the Ministry of Health, more than 800,000 influenza vaccines have been distributed to vaccination providers across the country. Around 30,000 Cantabrians have received their flu shot since it was released in mid-March.
“General Practice teams, pharmacies and workplace vaccinators are all adapting the way they work under the current national alert level 4 for Covid-19. As vaccine supplies are replenished, they will continue to prioritise those who are most at-risk of developing a serious illness from influenza and Covid-19, before the vaccine is made available to the wider community,” he said.
The flu vaccine should be available for the wider public from Monday, April 13.
The national influenza immunisation programme normally starts in April, and the flu season normally starts in late May.
More stock of the flu vaccine is expected to be available over the next couple of weeks.
The flu vaccine does not protect against Covid-19, however, it can help prevent a serious illness from flu and help reduce demand on the health system.