New group set up for 2021 Influenza programme

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Sarah Peddie

The Ministry of Health in New Zealand has now created a new sector working group for its 2021 Influenza Immunisation Programme.

The group is chaired by the Ministry of Health - with support from many other companies helping out. 

Forming a group like this was a priority agreed at a meeting between the Ministry and 40 stakeholders from the immunisation sector.

The group was set up to support a more collaborative and integrated influenza immunisation sector which focuses on the progress of the immunisation programme and this includes advice on planning and design for future programmes. 

Reviews of potential improvements will take place and they will make recommendations to the Ministry’s Influenza project team. 

Sarah Emerson, Principal Advisor, Immunisation at the Ministry of Health said: “We established this group in response to a Ministry-commissioned report into the supply chain issues experienced in 2020. 

“It’s one of the steps we’re taking to improve the programme and provide more reliable access to the vaccine in the context of growing demand.”

She said that by working closely together, it will strengthen the programme even more: “Being better connected will strengthen our planning based on lessons from previous years, and our ability to respond to the unexpected. 

“We’ve aimed for the group to have representation from organisations involved in key aspects of the immunisation programme, while being of a manageable size to function efficiently. 

“We thank all members of the group for investing their time in this kaupapa, and we look forward to drawing on their expertise.”

The groups’ first meeting took place in late November and they focused on vaccine supply, demand planning and promotional campaigns. 

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