New Zealand Pharmacies Ready to Combat Southern Hemisphere Flu Viruses

Measles and influenza outbreaks reported in New Zealand during March 2019

auckland nz

Flu vaccines are now available across New Zealand, health authorities announced on April 1, 2019. 

Health Minister Dr. David Clark said in a press release that ‘he is one of more than 1 million New Zealanders who will get vaccinated against influenza during 2019.’ 

“While many people experience moderate illness from the flu, around 400 New Zealanders die each year from various influenza viruses, and many more need hospital treatment,” Dr. Clark said. 

Launching the 2019 New Zealand immunization campaign has come at the right time. 

Just last week, an influenza outbreak swept through the Hawke's Bay's agriculture community. A Hawke's Bay District Health spokeswoman said there were 71 confirmed cases of the H1N1 influenza virus. 

According to news reports, 14 of these confirmed cases are in young men from Samoa.   

“Last year a record 1.3 million New Zealanders were immunized against influenza after the northern hemisphere experienced a particularly severe winter.” 

“This year, the influenza campaign focuses on people aged 65 and older. This age group is eligible for a free flu shot,” Dr. Clark said. 

This year's World Health Organization (WHO) approved vaccine protects against 4 strains of influenza, including influenza A and influenza B. 

But, for 2019, there is a change to the approved flu vaccines. 

On September 29, 2018, the WHO vaccine advisors recommended changes to the Southern Hemisphere's 2019 vaccine. They recommended swapping out the H3N2 component in egg-based vaccines. 

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This new information is important for Americans planning to travel to New Zealand in 2019. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest visitors to New Zealand are up to date on Routine Vaccines, and especially the measles vaccination.

This suggestion is related to the CDC’s November 18, 2018, Level 1 Travel Alert, Practice Usual Precautions, regarding the measles outbreak in New Zealand.

This Travel Alert has since been removed by the CDC, even though measles cases continue to be reported in New Zealand during 2019. 

As of April 2, 2019, a total of 67 measles cases were confirmed in New Zealand during 2019. The majority of cases have occurred in children, adolescents, and young adults.

The WHO said on March 28, 2019, that ‘everybody should receive the MMR vaccine in all western Pacific countries, whether or not they have achieved measles elimination.’ 

Additionally, the CDC suggests preparing a ‘Healthy Travel Packing List' when visiting New Zealand. This list includes medications, consumer medicines, and first aid products.

A pre-trip travel counseling appointment can be easily scheduled with a local pharmacy when visiting Vax-Before-Travel.

And, vaccine discounts can be found here.   

Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of vaccines to the FDA or CDC