Learn about the importance of immunisation for teenagers

Immunisation Week (1st to 7th May 2017) is about raising awareness about the importance of immunisation to protect against serious illnesses. The theme of the 2016 Immunisation Week is: Ensuring your teenager is immunised.

Here are the key messages this Immunisation Week:

  • Make sure your teen is up to date with their immunisations.
  • Many teenagers missed out on vaccinations as young children (such as for measles) and need protection now against possible outbreaks.
  • Immunisation at age 11 and 12 years is important to provide ongoing protection against tetanus, HPV and other serious diseases. These vaccines can be given at school or your local general practice.
  • Most immunisations are free for under 18s.

Catch up on your vaccinations: protect yourself now and in the future

It’s important to check you are up to date with your immunisations, especially if you are;

  • leaving home for the first time,
  • thinking of starting a family,
  • beginning a career or
  • travelling overseas.

Catching up on your immunisations is easy, and often free from your general practice. Your practice nurse or doctor will be able to tell you what immunisations you need.

Many diseases like measles and tetanus can make adults seriously ill. Over 400,000 Kiwis between 10 and 29 years old are at risk of catching measles in an outbreak. You need two doses of measles vaccine to be best protected.

You can also protect your developing child if you are fully immunised. Catching rubella when you’re pregnant can cause miscarriage or serious birth defects. It is also recommended that pregnant women have the free seasonal influenza and whooping cough booster vaccinations to protect both them and their child.

Most people will be exposed to human papillomavirus (HPV) as older teenagers or young adults. Persistent HPV infection can lead to cervical and other HPV-related cancers. HPV also causes most genital warts.

There are some extra immunisations that aren’t usually free but are worth considering to make sure you’re protected. Some of these are free for those at higher risk of disease. Talk to your doctor about whether protection from the following diseases is a good idea for you:

  • Influenza
  • Meningococcal disease
  • Chickenpox
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B

Sources: Health Promotion Agency and Ministry of Health websites.

Published on Monday, April 10th, 2017, under Uncategorised
Page last updated: 08/05/2017

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