Whanganui scoops top spot for flu vaccinations for those over 65


13 November 2018

Sixty-nine percent of Whanganui district residents over the age of 65 were immunised against influenza during this year’s flu campaign, making Whanganui the most successful district in capturing those over 65.

Thanks to the combined efforts of Whanganui Regional Health Network (WRHN) vaccination nurses, GPs and practice nurses, Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) vaccination nurses and Whanganui pharmacies, our 65-plus population is the most protected from flu in the country.

Whanganui Regional Health Network immunisation coordinator Sue Hina and WDHB infection prevention clinical nurse specialist Jacqueline Pennefather say considering the national average for those over 65 was 56 percent, Whanganui’s result is all the more significant.

The other cause for celebration is that 71 percent of over 65-year-old Māori living in the district were immunised, compared with the second highest result of 53 percent and the national average of 45 percent.

Mrs Hina and Mrs Pennefather say it appears Whanganui district residents have taken on board the message that flu can be a killer.

“The WDHB’s five vaccination nurses were very successful in capturing staff members and patients over the age of 65,” Mrs Pennefather says. “And Whanganui pharmacies have definitely contributed to the success of this year’s campaign across the wider population,”

Meanwhile, Mrs Hina says that while there is always a rush of elderly people requesting flu injections at the start of the winter, Whanganui district is fortunate in having general practice nurses who contact those they think might have forgotten to have one.

“Given that the flu vaccine was six weeks late arriving for this season, I applaud Whanganui’s clinicians for achieving top place in the country for those over 65,” Mrs Hina says.

“It’s poignant to think that we’ve done so well in 2018 which marks 100 years since the 1918 flu epidemic, which killed more than 50 million worldwide at the end of WW1.”