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On ice... Gore Medical Centre enrolled nurse Trudie Pope (left) and registered nurse Keri McClelland start preparations to store this year's flu vaccine, which will be available a month later than usual.PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Flu vaccinations will be available a month later than usual but that is no cause for alarm, Gore Medical Centre registered nurse Keri McClelland says.

Usually the annual vaccination is available in early March.

Mrs McClelland said some people might be concerned about receiving their flu injection later than usual.

“We want to assure the community that because of the lack of travel and the increased hygiene practices when we are unwell, we are not expecting to see as much influenza as in other years,” Mrs McClelland said.

The practice did not see as many people with the flu last year for these reasons.

“It obviously has to get here from overseas.”

The time delay was in line with the Ministry of Health rollout of the vaccine.

The vaccine will be available from April 14 and be released in three stages.

Stage one will be for adults aged 65 and over, while stage two, from April 21, opens the injections up to eligible people including frontline workers and  those with health conditions.

The stage three rollout, for everyone else, will be from April 28.

The medical centre will set up its drive-through clinic from Tuesday to Friday, 9am to noon so people do not need to come into the practice.

“We encourage our patients to phone for an appointment.

“We want to have a four-week block where everybody’s in and done.”

Mrs McClelland and enrolled nurse Trudie Pope will be giving the flu injections.

“We want to have some evening clinics available.”

There was some urgency to have the flu vaccination completed before the Covid-19 vaccine was rolled out.

“The flu vaccine needs to be administered separately and there needs to be two weeks between.”

There would be three separate vaccines this year, for patients from 6-36 months, one for those aged 3-65 and one for those 65 years and older, she said.

It was also timely that any adults born after 1969 checked their health records to make sure they had two documented doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

“There’s a funded catchup programme happening currently.”

People aged 15-30 were most likely to need a second dose of the vaccine.

If people needed the extra shot, it would be good to have it done before the flu vaccination season started, she said.