Flu Immunisation

Flu Immunisation

Flu immunisation is available from 1 April each year. It is important for everyone over 6 months old to have flu immunisation every year. It is especially important for tamariki (children) with certain long-term health conditions, and for women in pregnancy. 


Key points about flu immunisation

  • the flu (influenza) can be a serious viral infection
  • it is not the same as having a bad cold
  • even if your child is fit and healthy, they can easily catch the flu
  • flu immunisation every year gives the best protection
  • flu immunisation is especially important for tamariki  with certain long-term health conditions, who may develop complications from the flu

All children from 6 months of age can benefit from flu immunisation. 

How easy is it to catch the flu?

The flu virus is very easy to catch and can affect anyone - it doesn't matter how fit and healthy your child is.

It can spread easily by coughing, sneezing and touching infected surfaces.

Read about the flu

Can I do anything to prevent my child catching the flu?

Flu immunisation gives the best protection. It strengthens your child's ability to fight the flu.

You can reduce the risk of catching the flu by washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes, cleaning surfaces and staying away from others who are sick.

Which tamariki need flu immunisation?

All tamariki from 6 months of age can benefit from flu immunisation. By immunising your child, especially if they go to kohanga or daycare, you can protect them and your whānau (family).

Flu immunisation is especially important for tamariki with certain health conditions. This is because these tamariki are more likely to develop complications from the flu, such as chest infections. If your child has a long-term condition, make sure they have their flu immunisation every year before the winter starts.

What time of year is flu immunisation usually available?

The flu vaccine is available from 1 April each year, before winter starts.

What about getting the flu and COVID-19 vaccines?

Tamariki can have the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time, before or after each other.

Watch a video from the Ministry of Health about getting the flu vaccine, and other vaccines, at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine.

Check the KidsHealth section on COVID-19 immunisation in children

Where can tamariki get flu immunisation?

Your child can have their flu immunisation at:

  • your GP practice
  • Māori and Pacific immunisation providers
  • many pharmacies

Check with your nearest pharmacy whether they can give your child a free flu vaccine or whether there will be a cost. Many pharmacies give the flu vaccine to everyone over 3 years of age.

Check immunisation providers in your area on the Healthpoint website

Find out more about booking an immunisation appointment at the Health Information and Services website

How many doses of the flu vaccine does my child need?

Children aged 6 months to under 9 years

  • in the first year they have flu immunisation, they need 2 doses, at least 4 weeks apart
  • they only need 1 dose if they have had previous flu immunisation

Children aged 9 years or older

  • 1 dose

Which flu immunisations are available for my child?

In 2024, the funded flu vaccine for tamariki and adults (6 months of age and over) available in Aotearoa New Zealand is called Influvac Tetra. 

See Medsafe's NZ consumer medicine information:

Is flu immunisation free for my child?

Flu immunisation is free for some tamariki who are at higher risk of getting very sick, including:

  • tamariki aged 6 months and over who have a long-term medical condition like diabetes, asthma (who regularly use preventer medicine), a heart condition
  • tamariki aged 4 years and under who have been in hospital for a breathing illness (such as pneumonia, bronchiolitis, asthma)

Check the Pharmac website for more detailed information about who can have free flu immunisation

Talk to your health professional about whether your child can have a free flu vaccine. 

If you do have to pay, it costs between $25 and $45 but check the exact price with your GP practice or pharmacy. 

It's a good idea to have flu immunisation if you share a house with children who have long-term conditions

Flu immunisation is also recommended for those sharing a house with tamariki and rangatahi (young people) with long-term (chronic) medical conditions. The flu spreads rapidly within households and tamariki are very efficient spreaders.

Should I have flu immunisation if I'm pregnant?

Yes - flu immunisation is free anytime during your pregnancy. This is because flu is likely to be more severe in pregnancy and affect you and your growing baby.

Flu immunisation during pregnancy has an excellent safety record. It offers protection against the flu for mum and baby, both before and after birth. 

Watch Ali, an intensive care nurse and mum, talk about why she had flu immunisation while pregnant with her second child Caitlin. (A Ministry of Health video).

See the Ministry of Health website for a transcript.

Watch Elani Mafi, a midwife in South Auckland, talking about the importance of getting the flu vaccine in pregnancy. (A Ministry of Health video).

See the Ministry of Health website for a transcript.

Remember to have other important vaccines during pregnancy

As well as having the flu vaccine, remember to also have the COVID-19 vaccine and whooping cough vaccine. You can have the flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine at any stage of pregnancy, and whooping cough vaccine from 16 weeks of pregnancy. You can have them at the same time or separately.

Can flu immunisation give my child the flu?

No. Your child cannot get the flu from flu immunisation - there are no live viruses in flu immunisation. Many people confuse colds with the flu. There are many other viruses in the community which flu immunisation will not protect against.

Can flu immunisation make my child sick?

Most people have no reaction to flu immunisation. Anyone can have flu immunisation except those who have had a previous severe allergic reaction to flu immunisation.

Sometimes your child may have one or more of the following responses:

  • soreness, redness, or swelling where the immunisation was given
  • fever
  • aches

These are usually mild and only last 1 or 2 days.

Can my child still get the flu even if they have had flu immunisation?

Immunisation is not 100% effective for all people, so some immunised people may still get the flu. If they do, symptoms are usually milder than if they had not had flu immunisation.

See more KidsHealth content on immunisation

Check out KidsHealth's section on immunisation

Screenshot of KidsHealth website immunisation section


The content on this page was produced in collaboration with IMAC (Immunisation Advisory Centre).

This page last reviewed 05 April 2024.

Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 any time of the day or night for free health advice when you need it