Flu Jabs

2nd of April, 2019


April 1, 2019

Flu can be deadly for people with kidney failure – get immunised

 Lily Palmer receives her annual flu shot from vaccinator Lisbeth Alley. 

Influenza-linked illness is associated with more than 1,000 deaths from kidney failure each year in the United States, according to a recent study[1].

One of the study’s authors, Dr David Gilbertson, says flu immunisation should be a key strategy in protecting patients with kidney failure.

In New Zealand, if you have a kidney condition you are eligible for a free flu shot from your doctor or nurse. Immunisation is especially important for all people of any age with chronic conditions such as kidney conditions, people 65 years and over, pregnant women and young children as they are at a higher risk of complications when they get flu.

Free flu shots are available for eligible adults and children six months and older from April to December 31 each year. However, now is the best time to get your annual flu shot so you're protected before flu season strikes.

The two funded flu vaccines this year will contain four inactivated virus strains, specially formulated for the New Zealand 2019 season.

Flu can be anywhere, so you can easily catch it. Even if your kidney condition is well managed, being fit and healthy will not always protect you from flu.

Immunisation is the best protection against influenza.  Even if you still catch the flu after immunisation, your symptoms are less likely to be severe. What’s more having a flu shot every year can keep people 65 and over healthy and active for longer.

Influenza is not the same as a cold. It is a more serious disease that can also make other existing conditions, such as kidney disease, worse.

Get immunised to stop the spread of flu around your community.  Even if you don’t feel sick, you could still be infected with the virus and pass it on to others.  

Please note, flu immunisation from your practice nurse or doctor is free for people with kidney conditions. If, however, you have a consultation or check-up with your doctor at the same time, a consultation fee may apply.

The influenza vaccine is a prescription medicine. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist about the benefits and possible risks. And, if you’re between 65 and 80 years old, ask if you’re also eligible for free shingles immunisation.

Check out to find out whether you qualify for free flu immunisation or call 0800 IMMUNE 0800 466 863.


Ends            Media Contact:  Brenda Saunders 021 777 171.

[1] The article, entitled "Excess Deaths Attributable to Influenza-Like Illness in the End-Stage Renal Disease Population," appears online at doi: 10.1681/ASN.2018060581.