10 Mar 2015

Flu vaccine delayed to April

1:03 pm on 10 March 2015

Family doctors are expected to be busier than normal in the coming months because of a delay in getting this year's influenza vaccine.

Blood tests are being organised for people who cannot remember if they are immunised.

Photo: 123RF

Difficulties with the vaccine's effectiveness throughout the Northern Hemisphere winter has seen suppliers work to strengthen the formula.

The vaccine is usually out in February, but because of the changes, it will not be on doctors' shelves until April.

The Ministry of Health's Chief Medical Officer, Dr Don Mackie, said the delay would result in a busy period for general practitioners.

The Ministry said this year's Southern Hemisphere vaccines contained two new strains to give better protection against the virus.

The Ministry's target is to provide 1.2 million doses over the course of the influenza season, which ends in late July.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs