Health New Zealand: Young children with respiratory illness are at increased risk of influenza

Young children with respiratory illness are at increased risk of influenza. A key driver of this is low vaccination rates.  Vaccinating them now will protect them from late season flu and having two doses this year means they only need one dose next year. 

This year has seen extremely low rates of immunisation for this young, vulnerable cohort. Only about 2,000 out of the 40,000 vulnerable children have been protected. 

In some regions the figures are very low, with many DHBs recording fewer than 50 doses in total (eg: Lakes and Tairawhiti = 12 each, West Coast = 14, South Canterbury = 22, Wairarapa = 34, Hawke’s Bay = 39). 

Primary care is doing an incredible job and the many barriers to influenza vaccination are acknowledged.

Increasing vaccinations for this young, vulnerable cohort will make a real difference to their health and wellbeing. Considering creative solutions such as pooling resources with other practices or offering an outreach service to increase access may help increase uptake.

Health NZ want to support you and your PHO with vaccination options. There is plenty of vaccine stock, and the minimum order is one pack of 10 vials.  

2019 ESR data showed children under one were the largest group admitted to ICU and hospital with Influenza. 


More information on under 3 year old flu vaccination can be found on the health navigator site  here.