Canterbury DHB has made flu vaccinations free for all under 18 year olds in Kaikoura and Hurunui.
Dr Ramon Pink, Canterbury medical officer of health, says children under 18 years old are one of the groups most susceptible to influenza.
"One of the reasons young people are susceptible to the flu is that they're often in close proximity to each other, for instance at school or in a sports team, and the flu can spread quickly between them," Dr Pink says.
"The more young people who get vaccinated at their General Practice team, the less the flu can spread and the healthier the community will be."
The vaccine is already free to pregnant women and anyone aged over 65 years, or those with a chronic health condition.
Dr Pink says the continuing impacts of the earthquakes have made it more important than ever that people in Hurunui and Kaikoura get vaccinated.
"We know there are people in Kaikoura and Hurunui living in quake damaged homes that aren't weathertight and are hard to heat. We also know that people are more vulnerable to catching viruses like the flu if they're feeling run down and stressed.
"Getting a flu vaccination is something everyone can do to look after themselves and their community after what has been a very difficult and trying five months," Dr Pink says.
He is also encouraging people who are feeling stressed or anxious to talk to their General Practice team, or phone the Earthquake Support Line on 0800 777 846.
"General Practice visits for earthquake-related appointments remain free for everyone enrolled with a GP in Hurunui and Kaikoura until the end of May," Dr Pink says.
"Don't wait until it's too late - if you need someone to talk to call the Earthquake Support Line or make an appointment with your GP team today."
As well as making earthquake-related GP visits and flu vaccinations for under 18s free in Kaikoura and Hurunui, the Canterbury DHB is:
In addition to these new initiatives, established services such as brief intervention counselling, social work, and the school based mental health team, are continuing to adapt to support the evolving needs of Hurunui and Kaikoura.
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