The Government has announced more free flu vaccines and a second Covid-19 booster for groups of people at risk of hospitalisation.
Health Minister Andrew Little said an extra 800,000 New Zealanders will be eligible for free flu vaccines from Friday July 1.
This will include children aged 3-12 and people with serious mental health or addiction needs.
From tomorrow, a second Covid-19 booster will also be available six months after the first booster for older New Zealanders and other groups.
"Free flu shots are already available for everyone over the age of 65 and those at risk of becoming seriously ill or who have underlying conditions," Little said.
"This season we ordered 40 per cent more vaccines. We've already seen more than one million New Zealanders get a flu shot, but with significant pressure on our health system we're ramping up efforts to get as many people vaccinated as possible."
Little said in recent weeks, a number of pre-school children have been hospitalised with the flu.
"We also know children can be transmitters of the flu to others in their family who are more at risk, so it makes sense to reduce transmission as much as we can," he said.
"We also know that people with serious mental health or addiction needs can get seriously sick from the flu, which is why we're also extending flu vaccinations to this group this year."
Covid-19 Response Minister Ayesha Verrall said a second booster will be available for everyone over 50 and recommended for anyone over the age of 65 as well as Māori and Pacific peoples older than 50 and people who are severely immunocompromised.
"The availability of the second booster has also been extended to health, aged-care and disability workers over the age of 30," Verrall said.
She said the combination of Omicron and flu was making this winter more challenging than normal.
"The best thing New Zealanders can do to ensure they and their families don't end up in hospital is to be up-to-date with their flu and Covid-19 vaccinations and boosters," Verrall said.
The second booster should be done six months after the previous dose, and postponed three months after a Covid-19 infection. It is not recommended for anyone who is pregnant and is healthy.
She said The Ministry of Health's Covid-19 Vaccine Technical Advisory Group will continue to review new information on Covid-19 and vaccines and will make further recommendations on eligibility criteria as necessary.
People eligible for a second booster can get one without a prescription from walk-in and drive-through vaccination centres, booking online using BookMyVaccine or by calling the Covid Vaccination Healthline on 0800 282926. Flu shots are available by booking with GPs or local pharmacies.