A flu shot can reduce your risk of severe infection

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Around one in four New Zealanders are infected with influenza each year. Influenza is not the same as a cold - it is a more serious disease that can make existing medical conditions worse. While some people can become very unwell with flu symptoms, many other people won’t feel sick at all, but can still pass it on to others.

As influenza season approaches, it is important that people affected by cancer speak to their GP's about the free flu vaccination on offer. Annual flu immunisation is free for people who are actively being treated for cancer (excluding basal and squamous skin cancers if not invasive). Before you are given the vaccine, advise your doctor if you are receiving any of the following immunotherapies;

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

If you are, your GP can consult directly with your oncologist or contact 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863) to ensure vaccination is suitable for you.

Free flu shots are available between April and December 31 each year. However, autumn is the best time to get your annual flu shot so you're protected before flu season strikes. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist about the benefits and possible risks. And, if you’re between 65 and 80 years old, ask if you’re also eligible for free shingles immunisation

 For more information on influenza and the influenza vaccine visit www.fightflu.co.nz  or call 0800 IMMUNE 0800 466 863.