Preventing infectious diseases through immunisation

Community and Public Health is committed to encouraging immunisation amongst New Zealanders. Our main focuses are promoting the benefits of vaccination programmes and certifying the vaccinators who provide this valuable service.

Some Reasons Why Vaccination is Important

Young boy flexes his muscles to show how strong he is - shown from the back. Community and Public Health is an advocate for vaccination programmes because immunisation uses the body’s immune system to build resistance to serious diseases.

An immunised individual helps protect vulnerable people in the community by decreasing the possibility of a disease spreading. These vulnerable people are infants, the elderly and those with impaired immune systems. This protective effect only occurs if enough people are vaccinated and is called ‘herd immunity’.

New Zealand has a low child immunisation rate compared with other countries. This results in regular outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. The Ministry of Health’s target is that 95 percent of infants will have completed their primary course of immunisation on time (at six weeks, three months and five months of age).

Information on the COVID-19 vaccination

The COVID-19 vaccine will be for everyone aged 16 years and over – regardless of their visa or citizenship status. The vaccine will be free for everyone and no one will miss out.

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout is the largest vaccine programme Aotearoa has ever managed. The national plan starts with those most at risk of catching COVID-19, or most at risk if they do get it.

Having the vaccine will not be mandatory for Kiwis. Our Government has secured enough vaccine so everyone aged 16 and over can be vaccinated if they choose to. The best way to protect yourself, your kaumātua and whānau is to get vaccinated.

Please be patient. Everyone will have an opportunity to be vaccinated by the end of the year.

Talk with your family doctor or other health professional if you have concerns about having the COVID-19 vaccine. You can also call Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

Sufficient COVID-19 vaccine supply to vaccinate half a million New Zealanders in next 5 weeks

Ministry of Health media release: 11th June 2021

The Ministry of Health has confirmed there is sufficient supply of the Pfizer vaccine for district health boards to deliver more than half a million vaccinations as planned over the next five weeks.

“As announced on Tuesday (9th June), Pfizer has confirmed we will receive 1 million doses of the vaccine in July,” Director-General Ashley Bloomfield says.

“We also continue to receive weekly vaccine supplies through June as well. Stocks will be tight for the next five weeks and we have planned carefully to manage our way through.

“Current bookings will not be affected. But DHBs are likely to have to manage the rate of new bookings to ensure they are delivering in line with their current plans, where to date many have been running ahead of plan for some time.

“Walk-ins have been incorporated in the vaccine roll-out plan up until now, in many cases to avoid vaccine wastage. However that is no longer a problem so appointments will be required for vaccinations at all DHBs so we can carefully manage our supply during this period. Even through this more tightly controlled phase, DHBs will continue to administer more than 100,000 doses per week.

“We know some people in group 3 – those over the age of 65, people with disabilities, pregnant people and certain health conditions – are anxious to know when they will receive their vaccination. We have asked DHBs to ensure people in this group receive an invitation to be vaccinated by the end of July at the latest.”

“This does not change the end goal. There will be enough vaccine for everyone over the age of 16 to receive two doses by the end of this year.”

Big jump in New Zealanders who say they’ll get vaccinated against COVID-19

Beehive media release: 21st May 2021

Latest research shows more New Zealanders in major demographic groups will get a COVID-19 vaccine, as the number of doses administered reaches half a million, said COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins.

“Ministry of Health research from April 2021 shows 77 per cent of New Zealanders aged 16 years and over say they are likely to get a vaccine or have already received a vaccine. This compares to 69 per cent in March,” Chris Hipkins said.

“The results show the number of people who say they are unlikely to get vaccinated dropped to 12 percent, down from 20 per cent in March and 24 percent in December 2020.”

Latest acceptance rates:

  • Overall – 77 per cent (up from 69 percent) or 3,147,200 out of 4,082,500 New Zealanders 16 and over;
  • 7 percent of these people have had one or two doses;
  • Maori – 71 percent (up from 64 percent in March);
  • Pasifika – 79 percent (up from 59 percent in March); and
  • Over 65s are the most likely to get vaccinated.

“This is really encouraging. Major information campaigns, solid progress in the vaccine rollout and strong role models in each community are making a real difference. Given the rollout has been underway for three months, it is fantastic to already see a steady decline in those who say they won’t get a vaccine, including in those communities considered high-risk.

“We do know it’s important to understand why people might not be ready to commit to getting the vaccine just yet. This research indicates that 15 per cent are still unsure whether they have to pay for the vaccine, which is why we keep repeating that it’s free.

“Those who identify as disabled are more likely on average to be unsure whether they’ll get vaccinated and there remains a number of people who want to know more about the safety of the vaccine, so we’ve still got work to do.”



Download or order resources from the Community Health Information Centre.


Contact the Communicable Disease staff at your local office for further information:

Ph: +64 3 364 1777
Fax: +64 3 379 6484

Ph: +64 3 687 2600
Fax: +64 3 688 6091

Ph: +64 3 768 1160
Fax: +64 3 768 1169

For questions on immunisation and vaccination-preventable diseases, call:

0800 466863
9am – 4.30pm weekdays

PHARMAC widening access to the meningococcal ACWY vaccine

The meningococcal ACWY vaccine will be available free until 30th November 2021 for young people aged 13 to 25 who live in close living situations – boarding school hostels, tertiary education halls of residence, military barracks and prisons. Contact your general practice to have this free vaccination.

“It’s great when we can make a vaccine available to more people. Teenagers and young adults living in close living situations are one of the highest risk populations, which is why we’ve targeted this group” says PHARMAC’s deputy medical director Dr Pete Murray.

The bacterium that causes meningitis is generally carried by people aged 13 to 25 years. Carriers can infect those around them even if they have no symptoms. Vaccinating this age group would protect young people, decrease the number of carriers, and help reduce the spread of meningococcal disease in this at-risk population.

Applications for the meningococcal vaccine to be funded for other groups of people are still being considered, as is the funding of meningococcal B vaccine.

Year 7 and 8 Immunisation Videos

Both boys and girls are offered free immunisations at around age 11 against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough (pertussis), and at around age 12 against human papillomavirus (HPV).

These immunisations are provided by general practices in Canterbury. Other parts of the South Island provide Year 7 immunisation through general practice and Year 8 at school.

Watch videos from the Ministry of Health that explain these Year 7 and 8 immunisations.

Year 8 Protect against most HPV cancers.

Page last updated: 14/06/2021

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