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On campus flu vaccinations popular

Monday 20 April 2015 10:00pm

Head of Health and Safety Compliance Andrea McMillan gives a staff member a flu vaccination on Friday.

Otago staff are taking up the annual free flu vaccination offered by the University in record numbers this year.

On Friday, day two of the four-day on-campus vaccination programme, 692 staff rolled up their sleeves; while on the first day held in late March 666 vaccinations were given.

The University is among 40 percent of New Zealand businesses that offer free or subsidised flu vaccinations to employees at this time of year – but while many businesses struggle to persuade staff to take part, Otago participation is excellent.

The University’s Head of Health and Safety Compliance, Andrea McMillan, says the numbers of vaccinations have been steadily increasing and are now at about 2000 a year.

“The improving response is most likely down to more information being provided and word of mouth. Also, the vaccination is easy to get. No appointments are required, it’s very quick and there is minimal waiting time.”

"... the vaccination is easy to get. No appointments are required, it’s very quick and there is minimal waiting time."

She says staff appreciate the vaccination sessions being run on, or close to, campus.

“It is also a great time to catch up with people as staff are required to wait 20 minutes post vaccination as a precautionary measure. This year, one dedicated department decided to hold a meeting in that 20 minutes!”

Promotional material for this year’s campaign was prepared by the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.

Senior Lecturer in Virology Dr Matloob Husain says there is much misinformation about vaccines and vaccination.

“People often do not know the scientific reason behind getting the flu vaccination every year as for some vaccines you only take one to three doses in your whole life. This means many people who were vaccinated for flu in previous years do not bother to get it again,” Dr Husain says.

“It is important to get the flu vaccination every year because the influenza virus has multiple types and subtypes circulating that change frequently. Every year a new vaccine formulation is designed against currently circulating influenza virus strains.”

Ms McMillan encourages anyone who is uncertain about the vaccination to take up the opportunity.

“Anyone who has had the flu, as opposed to a cold, will know that it is something no one wants. Our aim is to improve the health and wellbeing of our staff and minimise the opportunity for flu spread.”

Roll up your sleeve:

  • There are still two more vaccination days offered on the Dunedin Campus: Friday 24 April at the Otago Business School, plus a further date to be confirmed.
  • Wellington and Christchurch staff are invited to participate in their District Health Board’s flu immunisation programmes.
  • Invercargill and Auckland campus staff are welcome to access the vaccination through their GP and then seek reimbursement.

Have your say:

The Health and Safety Compliance Team is keen to hear suggestions on how to improve the vaccination programme. Contact Andrea, Email: