The amount of health information we’ve been bombarded with over the past two-and-a-half years has been overwhelming. The pandemic has exhausted everyone. But there’s a renewed threat that can’t be dismissed lightly or even postponed – because the flu is back, with a vengeance.
Right now is the time to get a flu shot – without delay.
COVID-19 vaccines do not offer protection from influenza. Health authorities agree it’s crucial to have the flu shot this year because our collective community immunity is lower than ever, thanks to a two-year break from the flu during the pandemic.
New Zealand’s Ministry of Health says older New Zealanders are especially at risk of serious illness, hospitalisation, and even death from influenza.
“As Aotearoa emerges from its bubble, there’s a much bigger chance of catching the flu. And, with international borders opening, we’ll see new and re-occurring strains of flu spreading in our communities,” the ministry says in a statement.
“As you get older your immune system isn’t as good at protecting you, even if you feel fit and healthy. That’s why it’s important to boost your protection with a flu jab.”
By now, all adults should have had their third ‘booster’ COVID-19 vaccine, but it’s wise to also consider this as we head into winter.
COVID vaccination at the same time?
Yes, you can have your COVID-19 booster and flu shot together, if required. Discuss your specific needs with your GP, but the advice from doctors is it’s okay to have the flu vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine on the same day.
A common misconception is there must be a period of time between testing positive for Covid-19 and receiving an influenza vaccination. However, this is not the case.
“As soon as you’ve recovered, please go and get your flu jab. You can also get a Covid booster or vaccination at the same time as your flu vaccine,” Southern District Health Board medical officer of health Dr Susan Jack says.
Free influenza vaccines are available to a number of groups in New Zealand, including:
- People aged 65 and above;
- Women who are pregnant at any stage of pregnancy;
- Māori and Pacific people over 55; and
- Anyone aged six months and above who has a serious medical condition.
Don’t drop the ball on your own health during these chilly months. It’s so important to take good care of yourself throughout winter – to boost your own immunity through good nutrition and proper sleeping patterns. Vitamins may assist if your dietary intake is inadequate, especially vitamin C and zinc.
Remember, it’s mandatory for all our Home Instead CAREGivers to be vaccinated for both influenza and COVID-19. This offers extra peace of mind to our clients and their families.
Protect yourself from the flu, and book your flu vaccination today. Your CAREGiver can even take you to your appointment! And perhaps you can enjoy a lovely, warm coffee together afterwards.
About Home Instead
Home Instead is a specialist provider of high quality, relationship-based, in-home care for older New Zealanders. We help with a range of personal and lifestyle needs while providing welcome companionship. Our services include assistance with personal care, light household duties, meal preparation, medication reminders, and transport to appointments, shopping and social outings. We take personal responsibility for providing the best in-home care and support to meet our clients’ needs and are committed to addressing the individual and national challenges of New Zealand’s ageing population.