Every year we find the flu vaccination season is a moving target for us and we need to stay ‘fluid’. But this year it’s even more challenging! Why?
Firstly, the flu vaccine won’t arrive in New Zealand until May…and on top of that the date in May is still ‘fluid’.
It’s a big change from just two years ago when we started vaccinating in March. Last year we were advised by the Ministry of Health that there would be a new target start date of 1 April, then COVID-19 arrived and lockdowns meant the schedules changed and we all scrambled to re-schedule the flu vaccinations.
Now the suppliers of the 2021 influenza vaccine are saying May, but no one can give us a date for when we will receive the vaccines. This makes it difficult for us, and very difficult for you, our clients, to plan. An additional complication is the flu vaccination can’t be given within two weeks of the COVID vaccine, and a date for the rollout of COVID vaccinations for the general population has not been announced. The ability to plan has gone out the window!
With our borders closed the flu has been less common. In normal times over 500 New Zealanders die from the flu every year. With our borders beginning to open in a couple of weeks the need to vaccinate for influenza is paramount as our immunity has been decreased due to less exposure.
We, at Life Care, would also love to offer the COVID vaccine through the workplace. We believe it is an ideal environment and a large ‘catchment area’. We are ‘talking’ to the Ministry and the DHBs about it, but not holding our breaths for an answer!
A lack of vaccinators is one of the factors contributing to why our roll out in New Zealand has been slower than other similar countries, while we at Life Care have vaccinators throughout the country who could be vaccinating hundreds every day, either at workplaces or at clinics.
What does all this mean for you, our clients?
- If you have your flu vaccinations booked with us, we may need to change your dates to accommodate our supply of the vaccine.
- If you have other work booked in with us in May and June, we may contact you to look at other dates so we can reschedule the vaccination jobs booked for April to May or June.
- The flu vaccination can only be given 2 weeks apart from the COVID vaccination.
- We are working with the Ministry of Health to try to offer you the option of a COVID vaccination at your workplace, but the Ministry is difficult to get answers from, and are not as open to opportunities as we may like.
- We’ll still be offering flu vaccinations right into August – if you haven’t booked yet feel free to call us now!