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Science Media Centre


2018 flu season and influenza vaccine – Expert Q&A

Sarah-Jane O'Connor posted in on February 28th, 2018.

PHARMAC has announced it will fund this year’s seasonal influenza vaccine that covers four strains of the flu. Following reports from the Northern Hemisphere that the latest season’s vaccine was not as effective as expected, the SMC prepared a Q&A with influenza and immunisation experts ahead of the vaccine being made available here. Feel free […]

Influenza kills about 500 New Zealanders a year – In the News

Sarah-Jane O'Connor posted in on June 12th, 2017.

New research from the University of Otago has shown that the flu is a major killer in New Zealand, with Māori, Pasifika and those living in poverty most vulnerable. The study, published last week in the Journal of Infection, was based on the 15 years from 1994-2008, which meant it didn’t include the last flu […]

Flu project reveals “large invisible iceberg” of disease

Peter Griffin posted in on September 21st, 2016.

Preliminary findings from a multi-million dollar, five-year international flu study reveal the extent to which people are infected by influenza viruses. The new data, generated from the Southern Hemisphere Influenza and Vaccine Effectiveness Research and Surveillance (SHIVERS) study shows that about one in five people were infected with influenza, with even higher numbers for young […]

Morning jabs better for flu vaccination – Expert reaction

John Kerr posted in on April 27th, 2016.

Influenza vaccinations are more effective in the morning, reports a new study. The UK research, published in the journal Vaccine, compared the immune response of 276 older adults vaccinated in the morning  or afternoon, and found that morning-vaccinated people had more influenza-fighting antibodies when tested one month later Read more about the study on The Science […]

Tamiflu review spurs debate over stockpiling

John Kerr posted in on April 11th, 2014.

A new analysis of withheld studies has questioned the usefulness of antiviral drug Tamiflu in the event of an influenza pandemic. The review, undertaken by the independent Cochrane Collaboration, examined data from pharmaceutical company trials involving over 24,000 patients. The authors of the report concluded that, while neuramidase inhibitors — a class of drug which […]

Influenza A H1N1 in New Zealand – Experts respond

John Kerr posted in on March 26th, 2014.

A number of cases of Influenza A virus subtype H1N1 (commonly dubbed swine flu) have been recently reported in New Zealand. Most recently an outbreak of eight cases in Hawke’s Bay has received widespread coverage. While it is not unusual for the H1N1 strain to be detected in flu cases, experts have noted that it […]

Influenza warnings follow US flu season

John Kerr posted in on March 27th, 2013.

Experts are warning of potentially bad influenza season this year and encouraging vaccination. Influenza researchers Prof Lance Jennnings from Canterbury DHB and  Dr Sue Huang of the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) have highlighted the severe flu season in the States and cautioned that New Zealand could be next. In media reports both […]

‘Flu hospitalisations higher than expected

John Kerr posted in on November 7th, 2012.

The number of flu cases recorded in Auckland city are higher than would be expected, according to the latest data from an in depth study of influenza in New Zealand. The Southern Hemisphere Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Research and Surveillance (SHIVERS) study started last year, and aims to provide closer monitoring of influenza cases in New […]

Flu reaching ‘epidemic’ proportions? – Expert responds

Dacia Herbulock posted in on July 27th, 2012.

Claims that an influenza epidemic of swine flu proportions are set to overwhelm the country are overblown, according to virologists at the National Influenza Centre.  Media reports that a ‘new strain’ of influenza — H3N2 — causing hallucinations and crippling nausea, is heading north from Canterbury, and that flu admissions are at ‘epidemic’ levels, are […]

Flu vaccine for all UK kids

John Kerr posted in on July 26th, 2012.

All UK children are to be given the flu vaccination after experts said it could save up to 2,000 lives a year. The scheme, which is expected to be rolled out in 2014, will see all children aged two to 17 given the vaccination through a nasal spray (Fluenz® marketed by AstraZeneca). Younger children will […]

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