Canterbury is preparing for a double whammy with serious illness, as the flu will begin to affect the region along with the measles epidemic.
On Friday, the health official of Canterbury Alistair Humphrey said that on March 10, when the data was collected, the last time, there were 18 probable cases in Canterbury.
These 18 had arrived at the emergency room of the Christchurch hospital with flu-like symptoms in the five weeks prior to 1
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Humphrey said the health council of the Canterbury district and other health organizations are keeping a "watchful eye" on the rise in influenza.
"We are not worried, but let us know that the season is starting."
Measles was still a priority, he said, as it was more dangerous for life.
"But we will not let the ball fall on other things."
A statement on the Ministry of Health website said that 2019 was the first year that the vaccine would be available only from April 1st.
The modification of an established start date was to ensure that the vaccine remained as effective as possible during the period of maximum flu, which usually occurs in late winter.
In previous years, the vaccination program began as soon as the flu vaccine became available, usually by the end of March.
But Humphrey said he would not be brought forward because there was "not enough space in the refrigerators".
"The first of April was the chosen date, we must keep both vaccines cold," he said.
There was no problem with patients vaccinated for MMR and flu at the same appointment, Humphrey said.
This decision will be made by their general practitioner, based on how they prefer to manage the clinics.
An influenza vaccination is free for priority groups, such as pregnant women, people over 65 and those with chronic diseases.  Humphrey said that many people might be able to receive free flu shots through their employer.