In 2020 we learnt much about the spread of viruses, the distance droplets can travel and how good hygiene protects us. We used lots of space, soap, disinfectants and the influenza (flu) vaccine. Flu infection rates dropped. In 2021 we have the option to add the COVID-19 vaccine to our arsenal against viruses. As influenza and coronavirus are caused by different viruses, vaccination against one does not offer any protection from the other. This means a three-step vaccination program is recommended for adults over 18 years, for most people, starting with your annual flu vaccination.
Step 1: Influenza vaccine
The flu vaccination offers protection for you and your loved ones against four strains of influenza. It is available for free if you are over 65-years, pregnant or have an eligible health condition. If you are not eligible for a funded vaccine, you can still get your vaccine for a fee. As immunity from the vaccine lasts for 3-4 months and the strains of virus mutate each year, it is an annual vaccine.
Influenza vaccinations will be offered to adults 65+years from April 14, with a vaccine that has been formulated specially to be more effective for this population (Fluad Quad). After a week, other people eligible for a free vaccine will be able to be vaccinated. From April 28, vaccination will open to the rest of the population.
Step 2&3: COVID-19 vaccines
The COVID-19 vaccine is estimated to be available to adults 65+years from May and the general public from July. The vaccine will be voluntary and free to any person within New Zealand. Many of our customers are asking questions about the new vaccines. Our Pharmacists have put together a Q&A sheet of some common questions that may help in your research.
The flu vaccine is given with at least 14-days between it and the COVID-19 vaccine. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine needs two doses with at least 21-days between them.