3 Jan 2016

Big boost in flu jabs at Waikato DHB

9:24 am on 3 January 2016

The Waikato District Health Board is crediting its controversial flu jab policy with a 30-percent increase in immunisation rates among its staff.

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Photo: 123rf

Last year, the board required those working in clinical areas either to receive a flu vaccination or wear a surgical mask.

Ministry of Health figures show immunisation rates among staff at the Waikato health board rose from 53 percent in 2014, to 83 percent last year.

Waikato District Health Board chief executive Nigel Murray said Canadian research showed staff sickness rates dropped as a result of the policy.

The Waikato data was still being studied, but the number of sick staff seemed to have dropped, he said.

Dr Murray said it was consulting with staff and unions about any changes that may need to be made before the next flu season.

Those included defining what a clinical area was, and whether the policy should be extended to visitors to Waikato Hospital.

The Waikato District Health Board said other boards had expressed an interest in adopting the policy.

Child wearing flu mask

Photo: 123RF

Support for Kiwi kids to be vaccinated at school

A flu specialist says New Zealand should consider adopting a policy of vaccinating schoolchildren against the flu.

A school vaccination programme is being trialled in Britain.

Auckland University's Immunisation Advisory Centre director Nikki Turner said schoolchildren in the British trial were being vaccinated with a nasal spray to try to reduce the spread of influenza in their communities.

Dr Turner said children tend to spread the flu because their hygiene is not the best, they are in close contact with their peers, and they mix in large numbers.

She said if the programme is found to be effective in Britain, New Zealand should consider a similar measure.

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