Ministry health

Only 54% of DHB staff have been vaccinated against the flu

Just 39% of Nelson Marlborough District Health Board workers have been vaccinated against the flu, the lowest rate in the country.

By Rowan Quinn for rnz.co.nz

The Department of Health has released figures on the number of employees who have been vaccinated against the flu as the healthcare system grapples with winter illnesses.

They showed that only 54% of DHB staff nationwide had them.

This is despite predictions of a massive winter illness season, which is already contributing to long wait times in emergency departments in all major centers.

There were four other DHBs with less than half their staff vaccinated – Southern (44%), South Canterbury (47%), Counties Manukau (47%) and Lakes (48%).

Northland, Waikato, Taranaki, Hawke’s Bay and Auckland all had rates in the low 50s.

Taranaki was offering perks and prizes to raise his rate, including the chance to win a night at a luxury hotel.

The highest rate in the country was Tairāwhiti DHB, of which 69% of its staff had been vaccinated.

The Health Ministry’s national immunization director, Astrid Koornneef, said it strongly recommends that health workers get the flu shot for their own protection and to reduce the spread of flu to vulnerable patients.

Hospitals were working hard to raise their rates, but it was not mandatory for staff to be vaccinated, she said.