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Spotlight on immunisation: vaccinating kaumātua

This quarter, Pinnacle MHN worked with Te Puna Oranga (Waikato DHB's Māori Health service), Redicare Family Practice, and Rauawaawa kaumātua Charitable Trust, to vaccinate kaumātua in Hamilton.

Many Māori are at-risk of serious health complications from influenza. Pinnacle MHN Māori Health Manager, Rawiri Blundell, said ultimately the initiative was about primary and secondary health services coming together to help educate Māori communities and reduce incidences of influenza.

Rawiri said many whanau, Māori, Pakeha, and other others, don't realise how serious the flu can be. Around one in four New Zealanders are infected with the flu each year. Some people will experience moderate to severe symptoms, and in some instances the flu can even be fatal. 

Having kaumātua receive their influenza vaccinations demonstrated to the wider Māori community just how important it is to protect oneself against the flu. Around 60 kaumātua, or Māori elders received their influenza vaccinations as part of the initiative.

According to Rawiri, many whānau are now more aware of important influenza messages; including the fact that a simple flu jab will protect not only the recipient but also reduce the risk of passing the flue onto an older family member, baby or someone else with a compromised immune system.

A flu jab is available at general practices and some pharmacies for a small cost. For pregnant women, people 65 years and older, or those with chronic or long terms conditions (such as asthma or diabetes) the vaccine will be free.


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