Health workers in Australia are getting an early start to the flu season by vaccinating people who have not had the virus before.

Auckland-based FluCare says it is using a nasal spray that contains a live, attenuated strain of the flu virus to provide people with an extra measure of protection against the pandemic.

The company is using an inhalation device that uses a small amount of a highly diluted nasal spray to deliver a shot that contains an extra dose of a virus that can cause flu symptoms.

The nasal spray is designed to provide protection to people who are already well and have already had the flu.

The shots will be available in the city from October 10 to 14.

“This is a very good opportunity for people to get their flu shot and to get this vaccine early in the season,” FluCare CEO David Fyfe said.

“It’s important that we get our flu shot early to get the best chance of protecting ourselves.”

In a statement, FluCare said it is the first time the nasal spray has been available in Australia and the company has not been contacted by any health worker to receive the shot.

“We are providing the same protection to as many people as possible and are confident the shots will provide the same results,” Mr Fyffes said.

In a survey of more than 1,000 people, flu shot uptake in New Zealand was the highest in the developed world, with 93 per cent of those taking the shot saying they were highly or extremely likely to get it.

About 2.6 million people in New England are eligible to get a flu shot, which includes those who do not have insurance or who have a health condition that makes them at risk.