People eligible for state-paid influenza vaccinations are being urged to book their pre-winter jab immediately, now that bulk supplies of the vaccine have landed after a month-long international delay.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said more than 500,000 doses had arrived in New Zealand.
The first shipment, of 208,000 doses, was being distributed to general practices this week and a second batch of 340,000 would go out after Easter.
He encouraged eligible patients to contact their vaccination provider to arrange an injection.
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The vaccine usually arrives each March in preparation for the flu season during the colder months.
This year it was delayed because of a rare decision by the World Health Organisation to change two of the three virus strains covered by the vaccine made for the Southern Hemisphere.
Usually only one strain is changed at a time and in some years none.
The antigens in this year's vaccine are A-Switzerland-H3N2-like virus (new); B-Phuket-like virus (new); and A-California-H1N1-like virus (existing).
The vaccine is state-funded for pregnant women, people aged 65 or older, those under 65 years with chronic conditions including diabetes, heart disease or kidney disease, and children under 5 and over 6 months with a history of significant respiratory illness.