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Flu shots in demand at busy clinic

SAMANTHA SMITH
Last updated 05:00 02/07/2014
Michelle Farr and Helen Wing

BUSY WORKERS: Michelle Farr, left, and Helen Wing are two of the four nurses at Manukau SuperClinic who have been powering through flu vaccinations. 

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Demand for the winter flu vaccination has doubled at the Manukau SuperClinic this year, with more than 1000 doses used so far.

Registered nurse Michelle Farr says throngs of people have been lining up to be jabbed.

"This is my third year doing vaccinations and it seems noticeably busier," she says.

"That's probably for a few reasons - we have started earlier than last year, heightened awareness by the public and there is increased signage at the SuperClinic."

Operational manager Kathie Smith says many people meet the criteria for free vaccination.

People are eligible if they are over 65 or if they have certain health conditions, including asthma or heart disease.

The jab is also free for pregnant women.

"A lot of people who come to the SuperClinic for appointments are at risk for influenza and meet the criteria so they opt to be immunised while they wait," Smith says.

There are four vaccinators working from the Manukau SuperClinic with two working together on any given day.

Many people assume they don't need the vaccine because they don't often get sick, Farr says.

"Unfortunately people can die from influenza, including fit, young, healthy adults. Yes, the very young, the elderly and the immunocompromised are more at risk of complications, but anybody can be infected with the influenza virus and get sick," she says.

"Worst case scenario, it can be fatal."

Farr says there are some misconceptions about the vaccine, including that it can give people the flu. But that's impossible as it is an inactive vaccine, she says.

"I am in support of it. I would not have something voluntarily injected into my body that I did not firmly believe in."

Flu vaccinations are free for those who meet the criteria until the end of July. To see if you are eligible go to fightflu.co.nz or text FLU to 515.

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- Eastern Courier

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