Health Minister Jonathan Coleman stresses importance of flu jabs

A Porirua mother suffering diabetes never misses her flu jabs each year and today was no different.

Faye Maene was one of four local women along with Health Minister Jonathan Coleman who volunteered to get immunised against the flu as part of the influenza immunisation campaign at Porirua's health centre in Cannons Creek today. The 49-year-old mother was diagnosed with diabetes 16 years ago and she said maintaining her health has proved difficult.

"It's been really tricky. It's really hard going to the shops and watching everyone eating what they like.

" ... but I have to be strong and put limitations on what I eat," she said.

"I know to be there for baby is also number one, looking after myself so when baby grows up I'm healthy and well to see him grow ... "

Mr Coleman said it was important for New Zealanders to get immunised, coming up to the flu season.

"It can be a really nasty disease that can end up with people in hospital and can kill as well."

He urged New Zealanders, especially anyone over 65 and people with chronic conditions such as diseases and heart conditions, to get vaccinated.

Immunisation advisory centre director Professor Nikki Turner said pregnant women were at a higher risk of getting the flu.

"Vaccinating pregnant women will protect the women and also, importantly, protect her newborn baby in the first few months of life."

Last year, 1.2 million doses were distributed across the country, and figures for this year were expected to be similar.

Influenza

• Contact with the influenza virus is almost unavoidable, and while contact does not necessarily mean infection, it does mean that you are never far from the possibility of catching influenza.

• Influenza, commonly called the flu, can be a serious illness that is sometimes fatal.

• It can make an existing medical condition, such as asthma or diabetes, a lot worse.

• By immunising against influenza you can protect yourself and lessen the chance of bringing it home to a baby, older relative, or someone with a medical condition who could develop serious complications from influenza.

• It is recommended to get immunised early before the influenza season starts.

The vaccine is especially important for:

• Pregnant women -- any stage of pregnancy.

• Anyone aged 65 or over.

• Children aged 6 months to under 5 who have been hospitalised for respiratory illness or have a history of respiratory illness.

- NZ Herald

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