Learn about the importance of immunisation across the lifespan

Immunisation Week (30th April to 6th May 2018) is about raising awareness about the importance of immunisation to protect against serious illnesses. The focus for 2018 is promoting immunisations to older people (such as influenza, shingles, diphtheria and tetanus) and encouraging immunisation across the lifespan.

Here are the key messages this Immunisation Week:

  • The protection from earlier immunisations can begin to wear off as you get older. Make sure you’re protected – speak to your doctor about getting the immunisations that are right for you.
  • Protect yourself and your whānau – make sure you’re all up-to-date with your immunisations.
  • Immunisation protects everyone, whether you are young, old or in between, and even when you’re pregnant. Talk to your doctor about getting yourself and your whānau protected from serious diseases.

Find out more about staying protected from serious illnesses through immunisation (Ministry of Health).

Older people need to keep their immunisations up to date too

Diseases like influenza and shingles can have a bigger impact on our health as we get older due to the risk of complications. Also you can protect your grandchildren/moko from serious diseases by getting your immunisations up-to-date.

Your general practice can provide FREE immunisations to help keep you well:

  • Get FREE booster immunisations to protect you against diphtheria and tetanus.
  • FREE immunisation against shingles is available at age 65, and up to age 80 for a limited time from 1st April 2018.
  • FREE immunisation against influenza is available for those aged 65 and older.
Immunisaton for Older People: Immunisation at age 65 can protect against influenza, shingles, diphtheria and tetanus.

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; or
  • Hepatitis B.

Sources: Health Promotion Agency and Ministry of Health websites.

Published on Tuesday, March 27th, 2018, under Uncategorised
Page last updated: 07/05/2018

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