Quick! Get a flu shot before the end of the month!

If you want a free influenza shot, you better hurry up because eligible New Zealanders only have until the 31st of August before the government subsidised immunisation campaign ends.

The National Influenza Specialist Group estimates that as of August 1, 27% of the total population (1.2 million people) have received immunisation, but that many cases of influenza are still being diagnosed.

NISG spokesperson Dr Nikki Turner says that people who are fit are still at risk, and that “no-one is too fit to get hit.”

“All it takes is for an infected person to cough or sneeze near you or near something you touch within a few hours.”

“The seasonal vaccine has a good safety profile and is between 59% and 73% effective against influenza in healthy adults when the circulating and vaccine strains are well matched.”

Influenza usually lasts 7-10 days, and can lead to serious complications for people with ongoing medial conditions.

If you’re still not entirely convinced, a study from the University of New South Wales has found that the flu vaccine could potentially lower the risk of a heart attack by 45% in middle-aged people with narrowed arteries.

The findings of the study found links between infections such as influenza and developments of problems that could potentially cause heart attacks.

Co-author of the study Dr Pramesh Kavoor also recommended influenza vaccination of people who’d already suffered from a heart attack, as rates of subsequent acute coronary events are very high in said patients.

Considering cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, reducing your chances of it by nearly half is one of the bigger no-brainers you’ll ever encounter in life.

It’s also definitely worth mentioning that you cannot get influenza from the vaccine, as there is no live virus contained within the vaccine.

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