Immunisation is the most effective way to actively protect you and your child from preventable diseases, such as whooping cough, tetanus, hepatitis B and measles.
The first time we are exposed to a germ, for example a bacterium or virus, it takes time for the immune system to respond and we become unwell. However, once the immune system has memory of the infection, it is able to respond rapidly to destroy the germ the next time we are exposed.
Vaccines contain parts of or weakened versions of a particular germ. Vaccination exposes the body to parts of the germ for the first time without causing disease, and subsequently, the real germ can be rapidly destroyed if it enters the body to prevent illness.
The national immunisation schedule
The national immunisation schedule provides the best protection for our children when they are most at risk. From six weeks of age, children can be protected from several potentially dangerous diseases. It is very important to stick to the schedule – not immunising your child increases the risk of them getting the infection, and not keeping up to date reduces the protection that the immunisation can provide. It takes a few months and repeated doses of a vaccine for an infant to be fully protected.
Scheduled childhood vaccinations are free of charge.
Funded vaccines against the following diseases are available for children in New Zealand:
- chickenpox (varicella)
- hepatitis B
- haemophilus influenza type b (Hib)
- pneumococcal disease
- whooping cough (also known as pertussis
- human papillomavirus (HPV)
More information on chicken pox vaccine.
Meningococcal disease vaccinations
For best protection against all meningococcal disease in New Zealand, separate vaccinations against group B disease and groups A, C, Y and W disease are recommended.
Menz B (Meningococcal B)
Meningococcal disease is caused by the bacterium Neisseria meningitidis. At least 12 groups have been identified, including groups A, B, C, X, Y and W. Bexsero®, a multicomponent recombinant vaccine against meningococcal group B disease only is available in New Zealand.
Menz ACWY (Meningococcal A, C, W Y)
Menactra is a meningococcal conjugate vaccine to protect against meningococcal groups A, C, Y and W. The vaccine is funded for children and adults with a medical condition that increases their risk of invasive meningococcal disease AND is listed on the Pharmaceutical Schedule. Menactra is also available as a purchased vaccine through your family doctor.
If you are enrolled at the Silverstream Health Centre you will receive a recall 7-10 days prior to the immunisation due date for your child. You will then need to contact us to make an appointment.
We run designated immunisation clinics to ensure we are running as close to time as possible as you may be required to stay for 20 minutes after your appointment. Please bring your child’s Well Child Book to your appointment. Other things to consider bringing to your appointment could be toys, treats, and another support person to help if appropriate.
Flu can be anywhere and your best form of protection is to get a flu shot. Influenza, commonly called the flu, can be a serious illness that is sometimes fatal. Infection with the flu virus may lead to a stay in hospital for any age group but particularly if you are elderly or have an ongoing medical condition. Flu can make an existing medical condition, such as asthma or diabetes, a lot worse.
Could you get your flu shot FREE?
Pregnant women and people 65 years and older qualify for a FREE flu vaccine. People with chronic or long terms conditions (such as asthma or diabetes) may also be eligible for a FREE flu vaccine.
Every year the practice runs a series of Flu clinics providing flu vaccinations for patients that are deemed to be ‘at risk’.
This is part of the national flu immunization programme which aims to protect those most at risk of serious illness or death should they catch flu.
What is the shingles vaccine?
The shingles vaccine protects against the herpes zoster infection, which is commonly known as shingles. Shingles is a painful, itchy skin rash that usually appears on your chest, but can also affect your trunk, back, legs or face. It is more common in the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.
Vaccination with the shingles vaccine can reduce your risk of shingles and the long-term pain it can cause.
The shingles vaccine (zostavax) is free for those aged 65yrs.
Until 31 March 2020 zostavax is free for those aged 66-80yrs.
Whooping cough vaccination
Boostrix is a vaccine that protects against diphtheria, tetanus & whooping cough. It is free and recommended for pregnant women from 28-38 weeks. This will provide protection to both mother and her newborn baby.
For more information on immunisations visit the Immunisation Advisory Centre here.