PM gets flu and Covid vaccinations at community event

The Prime Minister has had his flu and covid vaccinations and is encouraging others to do the same.

As of today, more people are eligible for the bivalent vaccine Covid-19, which protects against two strains of the coronavirus.

Chris Hipkins received his injections Saturday morning at a community vaccination event in Upper Hutt along with Health Secretary Ayesha Verrall.

He said it was important that eligible people got the shots before winter arrived.

“It will actually better prepare them for the winter season, and will also help relieve pressure on the health system.

“So there will be more events like this around the country where our local healthcare providers will be encouraging people to get their flu shot and their Covid boosters and I would really encourage people to take advantage of that opportunity.”

Health Minister Ayesha Verrall also received both shots this morning and she said many people could get their flu and Covid booster shots at the same time.

There were currently more than 700,000 Covid vaccines and 800,000 flu shots in the country, with more to come, she said.

The government had ordered more flu vaccines than last year, she said.

“We have 1.7 million bivalent Covid vaccines and Pharmac has 1.8 million flu vaccines, last year we needed 1.2 million flu vaccines so we have a margin there so we can do more because we hope to get more people can achieve this year.”

A combination of Covid and flu added to the strain on New Zealand hospitals last year and people should get the flu vaccine and Covid booster to try and avoid that this year, she said.

Doctor Andrew Narayan from Queen Street Medical said it was a privilege to administer the vaccines.

“But again, you know, at the end of the day, another human being is being protected from the virus, hopefully we can all take lessons from it and you know if he [Chris Hipkins] can, then there should be no reason why someone else can’t.”

The medical center is one of several in New Zealand holding community vaccination events to mark the start of the rollout.

Dr. Narayan said the goal was to deliver at least 800 jabs by the end of the day.

Dr. Verrall said all New Zealanders over the age of 30 can now access the Covid booster as long as it has been at least six months since their last Covid-19 booster or positive Covid test.

People at higher risk of serious illness from Covid-19 could also receive an additional booster, regardless of how many doses they had before, she said.

The Covid booster is free for people aged 65 and over, Māori and Pacific people aged 50 and over, pregnant people and those most susceptible to the flu.

The flu vaccine is free for people aged 65 and over, Māori and Pacific people aged 55 and over, pregnant people and people with long-term conditions such as diabetes, asthma or heart disease, children aged six months to 12 years of age and people with mental health problems. and addiction problems.

Many workplaces in New Zealand also fund a free flu vaccine for their employees.