Flu tough on people with diabetes – get immunised


March 21, 2018– Diabetes NZ

Flu tough on people with diabetes – get immunised

Influenza (flu) infection increases the risk of complications for people with diabetes and can lead to higher blood sugar levels, say health experts.

 If you have diabetes you are three times more likely to be hospitalised and three times more likely to die from the flu and its complications than other people.[1]

However, if you have diabetes you are eligible for a free flu shot from a doctor or nurse. Immunisation is especially important for people 65 years and over, pregnant women and young children who are at a higher risk of complications when they get flu.

Free flu shots are available for adults and children six months and older between April and December 31 each year. However, autumn is the best time to get your annual flu shot so you're protected before flu season strikes.

To better match circulating viruses, the two funded flu vaccines will contain four inactivated virus strains, specially formulated for the New Zealand 2018 season.

This year’s vaccines are expected to offer better protection against the strain circulating in the Northern Hemisphere winter this season, and sometimes called the ‘Aussie flu’, that’s been in the media lately.

Flu can be anywhere, so you can easily catch it. Even if your diabetes condition is well managed, being fit will not always protect you from flu.

Influenza is not the same as a cold. It’s a serious disease that can also make other existing conditions, such as diabetes, even worse.

Research shows that you can infect others with the flu virus even when you’re not showing symptoms yourself. So, if you’re caring for someone with diabetes, you can help avoid passing the virus on to them by being immunised.  

Please note, flu vaccinations from your practice nurse or doctor are free for people with diabetes. If, however, you have a consultation or check-up with your doctor at the same time, a consultation fee may apply.

The influenza vaccine is a prescription medicine. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist about the benefits and possible risks. And, if you’re 65 and over, ask if you’re also eligible for free shingles immunisation.

Check out www.fightflu.co.nz to find out whether you qualify for free flu vaccination or call 0800 IMMUNE 0800 466 863.


 Media Contact:  Brenda Saunders 021 777 171.

[1] https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/influenza


Jo Chapman