Canterbury is preparing for a double whammy with major diseases, as the flu begins to hit the region along with…
Canterbury is preparing for a double whammy with major diseases, as the flu begins to hit the region along with the measles epidemic.
On Friday, Canterbury Health Minister Alistair Humphrey said on March 10 when the data was last collected, there were 18 likely cases in Canterbury.
The 18 had arrived at the Christchurch Hospital emergency department with flu-like symptoms for five weeks before March 1
ANDY JACKSON / STUFF
Eighteen people can also get the flu in Canterbury, because the measles epidemic grabs itself.
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Humphrey said the Canterbury District Health Board and other health organizations were keeping a “watchful eye” on the rise of the flu.
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON / STUFF
Canterbury healthcare professional Dr Alistair Humphrey says the health authorities are keeping a “watchful eye” on the flu.
“We’re not worried about it as such, it just lets us know that the season is starting.”
Fairs were still a priority, he said, because it was more life-threatening.
“But we will not release the ball on other things.”
A statement by the Ministry of Health said 2019 was the first year that the vaccine would only be available from April 1.
The change to a fixed start date was to ensure that the vaccine remained as effective as possible during the peak influenza period, which usually occurs in late winter.
In previous years, the vaccination program started as soon as the flu vaccine became available, usually by March.
But Humphrey said it would not be brought forward because there was not enough space in the refrigerator.
“The first April was the chosen date, we have to keep both vaccines calling,” he said.
There was no problem with patients who were vaccinated for MMR and the flu at the same meeting, Humphrey said.
This decision will be made by their doctor, based on how they prefer to run clinics.
An influenza vaccine is free of priority groups, such as pregnant women, people over 65 and people with chronic diseases.  Humphrey said many people could get free flu vaccinations through their employer.