27 Jan 2011

Flu vaccinations set to begin in Februrary

7:29 pm on 27 January 2011

The flu vaccination campaign is set to begin in February, with changes made to the eligibility for free jabs.

The Health Ministry says elderly people, those with chronic conditions and pregnant women will qualify for free flu vaccinations but young children from deprived backgrounds and people who are very obese will not.

The ministry says people who are obese, as well as deprived children, were eligible for free jabs last year because they were hit hard in the first wave of swine flu.

It says the swine flu pandemic is now over and swine flu is acting like a normal flu.

This year's vaccine will cover the same three strains of flu as last year's vaccine, including swine flu.

Children aged under nine are to be given the Fluarix vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline, rather than the alternative Fluvax, which caused serious reactions in some children in Australia last year.