Flu vaccination for stroke survivors

Flu vaccinations can reduce the risk of stroke 

Stroke survivors who catch the flu have a higher risk of developing serious complications, which could include another stroke. If you have had a stroke in the past, you should get a free flu vaccination each year.

Should I get the flu vaccine?

Flu (influenza) is a respiratory infection that can cause serious complications, particularly in children, the elderly and people with underlying health conditions. For these groups, the flu can lead to critical health problems, including pneumonia, heart attack and stroke. If you have had a stroke in the past and you catch the flu, your risk of having another stroke increases. You can reduce this risk by getting a flu vaccination each year.  

How do I get vaccinated?

If you have had a stroke, you are eligible for a free annual flu vaccination. Flu vaccinations are free for anyone aged 65 and over, pregnant women, and those people aged under 65 with serious medical conditions. Vaccines for this winter’s flu strains are available now from general practices (GPs) and most pharmacies.

What is the flu vaccine?

The flu vaccine is your best defence against the flu. Even when it’s not 100% effective in preventing symptoms, it will reduce the severity of the infection and your risk of developing major complications.

The vaccination cannot give you the flu. The vaccine contains non-infectious versions of the virus that trigger an immune response of the body.

You need to get vaccinated every year because flu viruses evolve quickly – last year's vaccine may not protect you from this year's viruses. It is best to get vaccinated in the autumn before the flu season begins. It takes up to two weeks after immunisation for the body to be protected against flu.

The flu vaccine is a prescription medicine. If you have a serious medical condition, discuss the risks of the flu vaccine with your doctor before getting immunised.

Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time?

According to the Ministry of Health, you can get the COVID-19 vaccination and the flu vaccination at the same time. It is not necessary to have any time gap between having these vaccines.

How can I prevent the spread of the virus?

To prevent transmission of the flu virus to yourself and to others you should:

Catch it – cough or sneeze into a tissue

Bin it – dispose of the tissue after use

Kill it – wash your hands or use hand sanitiser

What are the symptoms of the flu?

Symptoms include the sudden onset of fever, cough, headache, muscle and joint pain, sore throat and a runny nose. The cough can be severe and can last 2 or more weeks.

If you contract the flu you need to rest until you feel better.

Where can I get more information?

For more information go to fightflu.co.nz or call 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863).

For information on COVID-19 visit health.govt.nz or covid19.govt.nz