Christchurch leads the way in flu shots for the elderly, says Minister

  • David Carter
Senior Citizens

Senior Citizens Minister Hon David Carter has praised a campaign by Christchurch health professionals that has resulted in record numbers of Christchurch's elderly receiving flu shots this winter.

"Since the programme kicked off, Canterbury Health has seen significantly reduced flu related hospital admissions amongst the elderly in Christchurch. This is a wonderful outcome, and I'll be advocating that similar projects are instigated around the country," said Mr Carter.

"Our elderly often bear the brunt of flu related illnesses in the winter, and if a simple immunisation shot can reduce the impact of flu on our elderly population, than we have to support these programmes." Figures released by Christchurch's Eldercare Canterbury Project today show 71 percent of the city's over 65 year olds were vaccinated this winter.

Nationally only 48.3 percent of this age group were immunised this year, and last year in Christchurch only 58 percent of the city's over 65 year olds received flu shots.

Flu shots are available free from family doctors through Government funding, but Christchurch's improved rate has resulted from the combined efforts of a number of health professionals working together to drive home the message about the benefits of flu shots.

"Credit has to go to Eldercare Canterbury - who instigated this flu shot programme, with the support of general practitioners, Healthlink South, Canterbury Health and community elder care providers. The overwhelming success of the programme is a wonderful vindication of the integrated health care model," said Mr Carter.

The Senior Citizens Minister visited Eldercare Canterbury this morning to hear firsthand about the programme, and some of the other initiatives the group is working on, including hip and stroke education programmes.