In 2022, Manatū Hauora Ministry of Health announced that some people with mental health and addiction issues can be eligible for a free flu vaccination. The specific eligibility criteria includes:

“Anyone with schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder or anyone currently accessing secondary or tertiary mental health and addiction services, can get a free flu jab.” – Manatū Hauora

From April 2, the 2024 influenza vaccine is available to the general population. If you are wanting a get a flu vaccination and believe you maybe be eligible for the funded vaccine, please talk to a member of your mental health or AOD clinical team, pharmacist, doctor or other support. Where to go for walk-in vaccination, and more information about eligibility can be found at

We aim to motivate families, services, and healthcare professionals to take a proactive approach in aiding individuals with mental health and addiction issues to inquire about the funded flu vaccine. This can be done through services, a general practitioner (GP), pharmacy, or pop-up clinic.

What can you do? 

Display the collateral resources provided by Te Whatu Ora, or the SEE US campaign posters, which have been designed to highlight the significance of funded flu vaccines for tangata whai ora and to encourage uptake.

Download poster option 1 Download poster option 2 Download poster option 3

Health NZ/Te Whata Ora have recorded a series of Flu webinars for 2024, this one focuses on mental health and addiction.

Flu 2024 webinar series – Mental Health and Addiction

The webinar includes;

  • An update of current flu vaccination rates and eligibility for funded flu vaccines. An important note was even if a person is waiting for mental health or problematic substance use services, clinical judgement should be used for eligibility.
  • Dr Ruth Cunningham Public Health Physician, Service Improvement & Innovation Te Whatu Ora, and Associate Professor Otago University presents on the unequal health outcomes for people with experience of mental health and problematic substance use – ‘the scandal of premature mortality’. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, those with mental health conditions faced a 40% higher risk of dying from the virus. Ruth presents data to show how a large number of hospitalisations can be prevented with vaccines. The latest Tupuānuku research results are used to illustrate the part primary care has in preventing these poorer statistics compared with the general population.
  • Also, a presentation from Hannah Whittaker-Komastu Programme director Manatū Hauora Lived Experience, Community mental health. ‘Know me before you jab me’ is about relationships and how the people responsible for creating pathways to physical well-being are often the biggest barrier. Hannah discusses how we can address this and also how we can reflect on our own attitudes.