Important information - Immunisation Panui

Mar 31, 2021

 Kia ora koutou

 All our immunisation programmes remain important. However, our closed borders afford us the opportunity to further sequence the timing of these and safeguard the capacity of our immunisation system.

This panui has two important updates on the National Measles Immunisation Campaign and the 2021 Influenza campaign.

Protecting our tamariki from infectious diseases remains a priority

It’s vital that the childhood National Immunisation Programme remains a priority for all DHBs and primary care providers so we can continue to protect tamariki from the ongoing risk of vaccine-preventable diseases.

Please continue with childhood immunisations, including outreach immunisation services, school-based immunisation programmes and BCG vaccination services.

Protection is often life-long and, as we know, it is difficult to catch up children once the schedule window has passed.

Reduced focus on MMR campaigns in some areas

Some DHBs will be reducing their focus on the National Measles Immunisation Campaign between now and October.

DHBs will be in touch with providers if anything is changing in their region.

During this time, we ask that providers continue to offer opportunistic MMR to people aged 15-30 years when they interact with the health system.  

From October, all DHBs will have renewed focus on closing the immunity gap in their 15-30-year olds.

The pipeline of additional vaccinators to administer COVID-19 roll-out will mean we have increased capacity in our workforce to deliver MMR vaccinations. This workforce will also be able to apply the experience gained delivering a mass vaccination roll-out to your reinvigorated MMR campaigns.

2021 Influenza immunisation programme continues but with changes

The influenza programme will continue but the focus will be on those eligible for funded vaccinations.

There remains a public health risk of influenza even with the current border settings and it is important we continue the programme to ensure background immunity is maintained and our most vulnerable are protected.

The start date of 14 April for those aged 65 and over remains the same. But, due to a manufacturing issue, the influenza vaccines for people aged under 65 will now be available early May. We will let you know the availability date as soon as possible.

There is a need to align the COVID-19 roll-out programme with influenza. Outside the Counties Manukau DHB area, please immunise as many people aged 65 and over from 14 April so they can access the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to them. Within Counties Manukau DHB area, ensure that people aged 65 and over have both doses of COVID-19 before administering the influenza vaccine.

In May and June, both the COVID-19 and influenza immunisations will be available to a wider group of people within the same time frame. To overcome this complexity, we advise using a three-dose schedule, as previously discussed.

If a person is scheduled to have the COVID-19 immunisation within the next two weeks, they should have the influenza immunisation two weeks after their last COVID-19 immunisation dose.

Where a person is not scheduled to have the COVID-19 immunisation in the next two weeks, they should have the influenza immunisation, followed by their COVID-19 immunisation at least two weeks after the influenza vaccine.

For people in Group 2 of the COVID-19 vaccine roll out and for people in Group 3 that have a COVID-19 vaccination booked for less than two weeks’ time – follow schedule A

Schedule A

Day 0

Day 21

Day 35 (or later)

COVID-19 dose one

COVID-19 dose two



For people in Group 3 that do not have a COVID-19 vaccination booked, or have one booked for more than two weeks in the future, and for people in Group 4 - follow schedule B

Schedule B

Day 0

Day 14 (or later)

Day 35 (or 21 days after COVID-19 dose one)


COVID-19 dose one

COVID-19 dose two


Please note that whilst a two-week gap between influenza and COVID vaccines is recommended there are no clinical safety concerns should the gap between vaccines be less than two weeks.


Ngā mihi

Immunisation Team

Immunisations I Population Health and Prevention