The influenza virus can spread very quickly from person to person through touch as well as through the air.


Immunisation is your best defence against influenza.

You can get the vaccine or 'flu jab' at your general practice for a small cost. If you are over 65 or in a high risk group, it will be free.

Children under the age of five with significant respiratory illnesses will be able to get the influenza vaccine free from 1 April.

Visit the Pharmac website for more information on who can get the vaccine free.

The vaccine is usually available from late February/early March until the end of July.

The 2014 seasonal influenza vaccine offers protection against three strains of influenza:

  • A/California/7/2009(H1N1)pdm09-like virus
  • A/Victoria/361/2011(H3N2)-like virus
  • B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus.

For more information- Phone: 0800 Immune (0800 466 863) or visit Fight Flu.


Immunisation if you're pregnant

Pregnant women are strongly advised to be immunised as pregnancy places a woman at greater risk of complications from influenza.

Mothers who receive the influenza vaccine while pregnant can pass protection on to their baby. The vaccine offers protection to infants who would normally be too young (under six months) to receive immunisation individually.

Stop the spread of the flu

If you are unwell, stay at home until you are better. 

Follow basic hygiene practices:

  • Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds and dry them for 20 seconds - or use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Don't share drinks.
  • Avoid crowded places.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze - then put the tissue in a lined bin.

Being prepared for a pandemic

Have a plan and be prepared in case you need to stay at home during a pandemic.

Keep at least a week's supply of food, tissues, and your usual medicines so you don't need to make trips out in public.

Make sure you have contact details for friends/family/neighbours so you can call them if you need help.

Think about:

  • working from home
  • who could look after your extended family if they don't live nearby (eg, who could deliver groceries or meals to sick family members)
  • organising child care if your children need to stay home and you must go to work.

If you have an existing medical condition:

  • make sure you don't run out of regular medications
  • make sure you take medications for any condition to keep them under good control.


Find out more from the Ministry:


Last updated: August 29, 2018