The Flu Vaccine 2024

April 4th, 2024

Influenza in New Zealand

Influenza (flu) can be a serious illness and poses a significant public health issue in New Zealand.

Immunisation provides the best protection against influenza, and demand for the vaccine in New Zealand is increasing. Getting a flu vaccine helps reduce your risk of getting really sick or having to go to hospital.

The 2024 flu vaccine is free for some people

The 2024 flu vaccine is free for:

  • people aged 65 years and over
  • people who have a long-term medical condition like diabetes, asthma, or a heart condition (ages 6 months and older)
  • pregnant people
  • children aged 4 years and under who have been hospitalised for respiratory illness or have a history of significant respiratory illness
  • people with mental health conditions, including schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, or schizoaffective disorder
  • people who are currently accessing secondary or tertiary mental health and addiction services.

The funded flu vaccine for children and adults (6 months of age and over) available in Aotearoa New Zealand is called Influvac Tetra.

Detailed free flu vaccine criteria — Pharmac

If you need to pay for the flu vaccine

If you do not meet the above free flu vaccine criteria, and you do not have a free flu vaccine voucher from your employer, there will be a cost for the flu vaccine. Ask your doctor, nurse, healthcare provider, or pharmacy if you’re unsure.

It costs $38 at Upper Hutt Health Centre.

What the flu vaccine protects you from

The flu (influenza) is not the same as a common cold. Symptoms come on suddenly and can include fever, chills, muscle aches, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath, and stomach upsets. It can keep you in bed for a week or more.

Flu is usually spread by coughing and sneezing and is most common during winter.

The flu can make you very sick even if you are usually fit and healthy. Your tamariki can get very unwell with it too. You could also spread it to vulnerable people including:

  • pregnant people
  • babies (especially those under 6 months who are too young to have a flu vaccine)
  • elderly people
  • those with health conditions.

The flu virus changes often. This means the vaccine has to be tweaked each year to match the new strains of the disease. Getting a flu vaccine every year means you have the best protection.

You can now get your flu vaccine and covid booster at the same time. The covid booster does not have an additional cost.