Eligibility criteria

The 2021 Influenza Immunisation Programme start date is 14 April.

  • The 2021 Influenza Immunisation Programme will commence on 14 April 2021, for people aged 65 and over.
  • The programme for people aged under 65 years is due to begin on 17 May.
  • The Ministry asks vaccinators to focus on immunising people eligible for a funded vaccine.
  • The influenza vaccination programme runs to 31 December 2021. All groups can be immunised through to December.
  • Refer to the table below for details.
Vaccine From 14 April 2021  From 17 May 2021

Adults aged 65 and over including health and other frontline workers aged 65 and over

All sdults aged 65 years and over – eligible and non-eligible


All people aged 5–64 years – eligible and non-eligible

INFLUVAC® TETRA   All children aged 3–4 years – eligible and non-eligible.
AFLURIA® QUAD JUNIOR   All children aged 6–35 months – eligible and non-eligible.


The Māori Influenza Vaccination Programme is continuing in 2021 as part of the Ministry of Health' commitment to improving equity for Māori. The programme will begin on 14 April 2021 for kaumātua Māori aged 65 and over. 

Occupational health and healthcare workforces

As in previous years it is important healthcare and other frontline workers get immunised against influenza.

  • Occupational health services can immunise such workforces from 14 April 2021 if 65 and over, or from 17 May if under 65 years of age.
  • The Ministry’s target is that 80 percent of New Zealand’s health care workers are immunised against influenza each year.

Funding for immunising health and disability care workers

The Ministry will be providing funding to support influenza vaccination for health and disability sector employees, self-employed lead maternity carers and carers employed under individualised funding arrangements who:

  • are not eligible for a funded vaccination under the eligibility criteria stated in the Pharmaceutical Schedule,
  • have patient/client contact,
  • have not previously been the recipient of an employer-funded influenza vaccination whilst in their current place of employment (not including one reimbursed by the Ministry of Health in 2020).
  • Further information on how to claim will be available on the Ministry of Health website.

Providers can email queries about the Influenza Immunisation Programme to the Ministry of Health at [email protected].

Eligibility criteria for FREE seasonal influenza vaccination for 2021:

  • Pregnant women (any trimester)

  • People aged 65 years and older

  • People aged under 65 years with any of the medical conditions listed below

  • Children aged 4 years or under who have been hospitalised for respiratory illness or have a history of significant respiratory illness

List of eligible conditions for funded influenza vaccine

Funded influenza vaccine is available each year for people who meet the following criteria set by PHARMAC:

1. People 65 years of age or older; or

2. People under 65 years of age who:

  • have any of the following cardiovascular diseases:
    • ischaemic heart disease, or
    • congestive heart failure, or
    • rheumatic heart disease, or
    • congenital heart disease, or
    • cerebrovascular disease; or
  • have either of the following chronic respiratory diseases:
    • asthma, if on a regular preventative therapy, or
    • other chronic respiratory disease with impaired lung function;a or
  • have diabetes; or
  • have chronic renal disease; or
  • have any cancer, excluding basal and squamous skin cancers if not invasive; or
  • have any of the following other conditions:
    • autoimmune disease,b or
    • immune suppression or immune deficiency, or
    • HIV, or
    • transplant recipient, or
    • neuromuscular or CNS disease/disorder,c or
    • haemoglobinopathy,d or
    • children on long-term aspirin, or
    • a cochlear implant, or
    • error of metabolism at risk of major metabolic decompensation, or
    • pre- or post-splenectomy, or
    • Down syndrome, or
  • pregnant women (any trimester); or

3. Children aged 4 years or under who have been hospitalised for respiratory illness or have a history of significant respiratory illness.

Unless meeting the criteria set out above, the following conditions are excluded from funding:

  • asthma not requiring regular preventative therapy, or
    • PHARMAC has confirmed that people with a respiratory condition that is prescribed a preventer inhaler meet the eligibility criteria for a funded influenza vaccination regardless of whether or not they routinely collect the inhaler, i.e. are adherent with treatment. They acknowledge that there may be barriers resulting in some people with respiratory conditions not collecting their preventer inhaler but that this does not affect their eligibility to receive a funded influenza vaccine.

  • hypertension and/or dyslipidaemia without evidence of end-organ disease.

Also refer to the New Zealand Pharmaceutical Schedule on the PHARMAC website www.pharmac.govt.nz/tools-resources/pharmaceutical-schedule/community




a. Chronic respiratory diseases may include: chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, emphysema.
b. Autoimmune diseases may include: coeliac disease, Crohns disease, Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis:
    Immune suppression or immune deficiency includes diseases modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS) or targeted biologic therapies.
c. Neuromuscular and CNS diseases/disorders include: celebral palsy, congenital myopathy, epilepsy, hydrocephaly, motor neurone disease,
    multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, myasthenia gravis, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury.
d. Haemoglobinopathies including: sickle cell anaemia, thalassemia.

Patient eligibility and clinical queries contact
The Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC)
The University of Auckland
Phone: 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863)
Email: [email protected]

For manual claiming and Payment Queries
Call sector services contact centre on 0800 458 448