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The Immunisation Service Level Alliance (Immunisation SLA) is the guardian of the immunisation service across Canterbury, aiming to increase immunisation coverage to reduce vaccine-preventable diseases. The Immunisation SLA focuses on normalising immunisation over a lifetime and reaching specific health and performance targets. This includes:

  • All immunisation programmes in Canterbury funded by health funding
  • The Seasonal Influenza Programme, both subsidised and non-subsidised
  • Vaccination of the health workforce
  • Any necessary immunisation events to manage outbreaks

Immunisation plays an important role in the Canterbury health system’s objectives to support people to take greater responsibility for their own health and stay well in their own homes and communities. Immunisation can prevent a number of diseases and is a very cost-effective health intervention.

The Immunisation SLA was established in 2010 and provides strategic planning, design, prioritisation and implementation oversight of immunisation services across the Canterbury health system, including recommendations for how services will be funded. As part of this, the Immunisations SLA developed an Immunisation Outcomes Framework and is set key performance targets each year by the Ministry of Health. Implementation of endorsed recommendations and decisions is by the Immunisation Providers Group or Canterbury District Health Board Planning and Funding.

Latest News
19Jul

It’s not too late to protect yourself against the flu

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More than a third of Cantabrians have had their flu immunisation already this winter and there’s still time for the rest of us to protect ourselves.

Recent data shows that 184,610 flu vaccines have been distributed so far this flu season – more than the totals taken at the end of the season for the previous three years. This is equivalent to 36 percent of the population and puts Canterbury at the top of the country for distributed vaccines.

Canterbury District Health Board Medical Officer of Health Dr Ramon Pink says, “It’s encouraging how many people have had their flu shots already but we can still do better.

“We would like to see much higher numbers with our Māori population, particularly our kaumātua over 65 who are funded for free shots and can set a good example for the rest of their whanau.”

Dr Pink says that there is a window of opportunity that people should jump on.

“So far this winter our flu numbers have been flat but from mid to late July we typically start to see the numbers rise. The flu shot can take up to two weeks to start protecting you so people should really get in now and urge their loved ones to do the same.”

This year’s vaccines for New Zealand have been developed to offer protection against the strain that circulated in the Northern Hemisphere during their winter, which lead to the worst flu season in nearly a decade. Around 80 percent of people infected with the flu show minimal symptoms so can be spreading it to vulnerable whanāu and members of the community without realising.

Some groups qualify for free flu shots and flu immunisations are  also available for a fee from general practices with some pharmacies also providing free and fee-paying immunisations.

“It’s much easier staying well than getting better so I urge people to take every action they can to avoid catching or spreading the flu,” says Dr Pink.

For more information, locations of pharmacies providing flu immunisations, and some fun activities to keep the kids entertained for at least ten minutes, check out our flu-free website flufree.co.nz

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