Promoting and supporting influenza immunisation

This website and the national annual influenza promotional campaign is brought to you by The Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) and the National Influenza Strategy Group (NISG).

2019 Influenza Immunisation Programme

Start date

From 2019, the Annual Influenza Immunisation Programme will have a fixed start date of 1 April. In previous years, the programme started as soon as the influenza vaccine became available, generally by early March. The change to a fixed start date of 1 April is intended to ensure that the vaccine remains as effective as possible during the peak incidence of influenza, which in recent years has occurred in late winter.

For further information, refer to the  Ministry's policy statement on the annual Influenza Immunisation Programme start date.


  • Vaccinate 75% of the population aged 65 years or older against influenza annually
  • Improve influenza immunisation coverage for people aged under 65 years with certain medical conditions, and pregnant women
  • Improve influenza immunisation uptake for healthcare workers
  • 80% of District Health Board-based healthcare workers are vaccinated against influenza annually
  • Distribute more than 1.2 million influenza vaccine doses annually, i.e. protect more than 25% of the community

Key messages

  • Immunisation is the best protection against influenza. Even if you still catch the flu after immunisation, your symptoms are less likely to be severe.
  • Get immunised to stop the spread of influenza around your community. Even if you don't feel sick, you could still be infected with influenza and pass it on to others.
  • Influenza immunisation is recommended and FREE for people who are most likely to get very sick, be hospitalised or even die if they catch influenza:
    • pregnant women,
    • people aged 65 years old or older,
    • people aged under 65 years with diabetes, most heart or lung conditions and some other illnesses, and
    • children aged 4 years or under who are at risk of ending up in hospital for asthma or other breathing problems.
  • Having an influenza immunisation every year can keep older people healthy and active for longer. Influenza immunisation during pregnancy helps protect the woman and her baby against influenza.

Important Information

Refund for unused/expired funded 2018 influenza vaccine

One refund will be available for a total of 10 doses of unused INFLUVAC® TETRA and/or one dose of unused FLUARIX® TETRA and/or 10 doses of unused INFLUVAC® from any one account. To be eligible for a refund, the unused stock must be returned prior to 31 January 2019. 

Contact Healthcare Logistics on 0508 425 358 to request a Return Authorisation.

Funded influenza vaccines for 2019:

INFLUVAC® TETRA (quadrivalent)
For adults and children aged 3 years or older. 

FLUARIX® TETRA (quadrivalent)
For children aged under 3 years, i.e. 6–35 months. 

The influenza strains included in the 2019 quadrivalent vaccines are the:

  • A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus
  • A/Switzerland/8060/2017 (H3N2)-like virus
  • B/Colorado/06/2017-like virus
  • B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus

Minimum order requirements
The total influenza vaccine order must meet minimum quantities as follows:

March April May June July Aug-Dec
Min 60 doses Min 60 doses Min 60 doses Min 30 doses Min 20 doses Min 10 doses

Influenza vaccination precaution

Influenza vaccination may be contraindicated or need to be delayed for people receiving any of the following four cancer treatments: 

  • atezolizumab (Tecentriq®),
  • ipilimumab (Yervoy®),
  • nivolumab (Opdivo®) 
  • pembrolizumab (Keytruda®)

These are the only four cancer treatements in New Zealand that require influenza vaccination to be delayed.

The immune-stimulant actions of these treatments on the immune system increase a person’s risk of developing autoimmune conditions. It is not known whether receipt of an influenza vaccine whilst receiving these treatments or for up to six months after treatment increases a theoretical risk of triggering the

occurrence of these side effects. Please contact the person’s oncologist or 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863) for current advice about influenza vaccination for these people BEFORE administering the vaccine.