Already this season, distribution of the influenza vaccine has reached near record levels in Aotearoa New Zealand, which has led to low stock levels. As a result, the Ministry of Health is asking all general practices to prioritise the vaccination of those at the greatest risk of influenza.
Priority groups include:
- pregnant women
- children aged 4 and under with serious respiratory illness
- people with severe asthma, heart disease, diabetes and other serious health conditions that make them susceptible to influenza
- those aged 65 and over.
The UC Health Centre should have enough influenza vaccines to cover people who would consider themselves to be in one of the above groups.
Ways to help minimise the spread of influenza
- Always cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing
- Wash your hands regularly
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Don’t share drinks
- Stay at home if unwell.
Currently Christchurch has no measles cases. However, the UC Health Centre still wants to see you if you:
• have never received an Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccination in the past
• have commenced a course of MMR and need a 2nd booster
• are uncertain of your vaccination history or have close contact with someone who is unable to be vaccinated such as a young baby or a household contact with compromised immunity
A single measles vaccination given to those born between 1969 and 1994 is sufficient to give 95% immunity and the health authorities are not recommending that these people get a booster shot.
If in doubt, please come and check in with the team at the Health Centre.
There are now 14 confirmed measles cases in Canterbury. Measles is a highly contagious virus that spreads easily from person to person through the air, via breathing, coughing and sneezing.
- If you catch measles you are infectious 5 days before and until 5 days after the rash appears (see symptoms below).
- Anyone with measles needs to be in isolation from the time they become ill until 5 days after the rash has appeared. This means staying away from university, work, sporting competitions and social events.
Not sure if you’ve been immunised?
The best protection is for people born after 1969 to have had two MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccinations.
If you are not sure if you’ve been immunised for measles, and you’re enrolled at the UC Health Centre please phone them as soon as possible – they can check your immunisation history.
If you are not enrolled with the UC Health Centre please contact your own General Practitioner (GP) to check your vaccination history.
If you are exposed to measles and haven’t been immunised, you’ll need to be isolated for at least 14 days.
Early symptoms include:
- a dry cough
- runny nose
- temperature over 38.5 degrees
Around four or five days in:
- a blotchy face rash usually appears, then moves to the chest and arms.
If you think you have been exposed to measles or are exhibiting symptoms, do not go to the Emergency Department (ED), after hours clinic, UC Health or your general practitioner (GP). Instead phone UC Health or your GP for advice.
Canterbury District Health Board website – search measles
Ministry of Health website
Tetanus shots are available now at the UC Health Centre for our enrolled patients who are aged 45 and 65 years.
The vaccine is free but there is a $10 charge for the nurse service.
The Government encourages people to have these vaccines at this time of life as childhood protection is usually depleted and the risk of tetanus is not. Those who are a few years beyond these designated ages are also eligible.
What you need to know
Tetanus is contracted through puncture wounds or those contaminated by soil or animal faeces. These wounds can be quite trivial, for example rose thorn pricks. Hospitalisation of four women over 60 for tetanus in 2013 shows the need for protection in adults who often think these risks belong to younger people.
Patients enrolled at UC Health are invited to see us. Please phone first to book a nurse appointment, or for more information, phone: 364 2402
Staff up-take of the flu vaccine is down compared with this time last year, so those of you relying on your vaccinated co-workers to keep the flu out of your office may be in for a nasty surprise.
Flu vaccines are provided free for UC staff and you get to sit in the waiting room for a short time after your vaccination. A perk!
- The vaccine takes 7-14 days to fully protect you.
- The flu vaccine will only protect you against the flu. You are free to get as many colds and sore throats as you like.
The UC Health Centre is looking forward to seeing you.
Book your vaccine by calling 03 364 2402 or visit our our reception team.