Chiefs Aids Public Health Outcomes

Press Release – Waikato District Health Board

This month sees an end to influenza season and Waikato District Health Board is taking the opportunity to thank the Chiefs rugby team for getting on board and leading by example with their immunisations.

Media Release

Date: 31 October 2013

CHIEFS AID PUBLIC HEALTH OUTCOMES

This month sees an end to influenza season and Waikato District Health Board is taking the opportunity to thank the Chiefs rugby team for getting on board and leading by example with their immunisations.

A record 23,330 more Waikato residents have been vaccinated against influenza this season, compared to the same period last year.

A total of 95,140 Waikato residents have been vaccinated as of the 31 July 2013 campaign end date; a striking increase on last year’s total of 71,810.

“The Chiefs management, staff and players really got behind the Waikato’s influenza campaign and allowed us to film, photograph and write about the boys receiving their immunisations, which inevitably encourages others to have theirs done,” said Waikato DHB Media and Communications director Mary Anne Gill.

“Whether they think so or not, these guys are role models in our community and we know that having their involvement in relaying important health messages works, so we are really appreciative of the time and leadership they took in this year’s influenza campaign.”

“Keeping our squad healthy is essential to our success. The immunisations, along with good hand hygiene certainly helped us reduce the incidents of illness amongst the players,” said Chiefs head of strength and conditioning Phil Healey.

As a result of the increased vaccine uptake this year, a lower number of influenza cases were identified throughout the season, easing the burden on primary and hospital services.

Waikato DHB medical officer of health Dr Felicity Dumble says the higher rates of vaccination are very encouraging as the more people who are immune, the harder it is for the influenza virus to take hold.

The influenza vaccine was free until the end of July for New Zealanders at high risk of complications – pregnant women, people aged 65 and over, and people of any age with long-term health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease (including serious asthma), kidney disease and most cancers.

The total number of New Zealanders to receive the influenza vaccination is this year was a record 1,253,790, as of 31 July.

For advice about influenza immunisation visit www.fightflu.co.nz or text FLU to 515 or go to www.waikatodhb.health.nz/flu

For free health advice, call Healthline on 0800 611 116.

ENDS

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