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Free flu vaccination programme begins this week

Tuesday, 4 April 2017 8:11pm

Otago staff are invited and encouraged to roll up their sleeves for a flu free vaccination this week - as the annual programme gets underway.

This year’s annual free flu vaccinations will begin on Friday – with the programme improved thanks to a staff survey.

The University of Otago, one of the largest employers in New Zealand, has offered the free flu vaccination to staff every year since 2005.

This year the University is offering staff the quadvalent vaccine, which has just been released for distribution.

The vaccinations will be offered on Fri 7 Apr, 8.30am to 4.30pm in the Link; Tue 11 Apr, 8.30am to 4.30pm in the Link; and Fri 21 Apr, 8.30am to 4.30pm in the Hunter Centre.

The University’s Health and Safety Compliance Occupational Health Nurse Cath Logan says last year’s survey suggested more advertising, offering the vaccination on different days of the week, and having a more central location as improvements to the programme – all of which have been implemented.

Why get a free flu vaccination?

  • Around one in four New Zealanders are infected with influenza or 'flu' each year;
  • Many won’t feel sick at all, but can still pass it on to others;
  • Getting vaccinated each year as early as possible before winter hits gives the best protection;
  • Influenza vaccination is safe, effective and cannot give you 'the flu';
  • More than 1.2 million New Zealanders have their influenza vaccination each year.

The dates:

Fri 7 Apr, 8.30am to 4.30pm
Mezzanine Floor, Link building

Tue 11 Apr, 8.30am to 4.30pm
Mezzanine Floor, Link building

Fri 21 Apr, 8.30am to 4.30pm
Hunter Centre

It is likely there will be other days advertised later.

Other campuses: Wellington and Christchurch staff are invited to access the vaccination the via the DHB service. Invercargill and Auckland staff can contact to arrange a vaccination.

What the survey found:

Almost two thirds of Otago staff didn’t take up the University’s offer of a free flu vaccination in 2015.

Just 2250 of 6025 employees were vaccinated - which Senior Virology Lecturer Dr Matloob Husain of Microbiology and Immunology believes is quite low.

He surveyed staff in late 2015 to gauge the programme’s effectiveness, and published his findings in the New Zealand Medical Journal.

Based on his survey, Dr Husain suggested a more timely and aggressive promotional and awareness campaign was needed to improve this figure.