The National Immunisation Schedule is the series of vaccines that are offered free to babies, children, adolescents and adults.

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  • If enough people are immunised against diseases they don’t spread as easily.
  • Immunisations are free to all children and help to protect against eleven serious diseases: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib), pneumococcal, measles, mumps, rubella, and human papillomavirus.
  • Immunisations work by making baby’s immune system respond to the vaccine in a similar way it would to the disease.
  • Having all the immunisations is important to fully protect your child. If a dose is missed at the right time you can still catch up – you don’t need to restart.

Some parents are interested in purchasing additional immunisations for their children. Chickenpox and rotavirus vaccines are recommended for infants. (Rotavirus bacteria are very common and cause severe diarrhoea and vomiting).

You’ll need an immunisation certificate to enrol your child at an early childhood centre, kohanga reo or primary school.

When having the vaccination:

  • cuddle the child on your knee
  • talk calmly to them
  • distract them with a favourite toy.

About half of all children have soreness around the vaccination site for a short while after the injection.

  • try a cool, clean facecloth on the swollen area
  • paracetamol liquid may be given if the child has a fever or is in discomfort. Check dose and measure in measuring cup or special medicine spoon, not a teaspoon – they vary too much in size and it is very dangerous to overdose young children.

For further information – or 0800 IMMUNE (466 863)