Preventing infectious diseases through immunisation

Te Mana Ora | 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. Te Mana Ora | 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. Te Whatu Ora aims to increase vaccination rates so that 95 percent of children are fully immunised by two years of age. This is for all vaccines as listed on the National Immunisation Schedule.

Pharmacists to soon offer childhood immunisations

Health New Zealand media release: 13th March 2024

A decision has been made to allow pharmacies to offer childhood immunisations, which will increase opportunities for whānau to access free immunisations in their communities.

National Director of the National Public Health Service, Dr Nick Chamberlain says that childhood immunisation rates in Aotearoa New Zealand have historically been below the required 95 percent target for immunisation coverage.

“We are now approaching 81 percent of all tamariki and specifically 66 percent of tamariki Māori being fully immunised. This means that there is significant risk of a vaccination preventable disease outbreak, such as measles. Hence, we must try some new things.”

One of the biggest barriers to people getting vaccinated in Aotearoa is access to vaccinators – according to the 2023 National Immunisation Taskforce report.

“Strengthening our utilisation of community pharmacies across the motu creates another option for whānau to get vaccinated in their communities – particularly for those who can’t access or aren’t enrolled with a General Practice. These changes will also support an increase in the vaccinator workforce over time, should these skills be needed for future outbreak or pandemic situations,” says Nick Chamberlain.

This decision was made following a joint consultation by Health New Zealand – Te Whatu Ora and Pharmac earlier this year, which received feedback from across the health sector and members of the public. Pharmac’s Board has approved removal of a restriction from the relevant vaccines from 1st April 2024, to enable pharmacies to deliver them.

Dr Nick Chamberlain says that pharmacies will provide another option for immunisations, but this is intended for those who aren’t enrolled or cannot access their GP.

“After providing the immunisation, pharmacists will be asked to refer parents and caregivers back to General Practice – as it will remain the preferred place to get childhood immunisations.”

Tracking vaccination with the Aotearoa Immunisation Register

New Zealanders can receive vaccinations from a range of health providers over their lifetime. The Aotearoa Immunisation Register (AIR) was launched in late 2023 and is designed to:

  • provide an accurate understanding of population immunisation coverage rates. This means programmes can be planned better to support populations with the lowest immunisation rates;
  • reduce digital barriers and support the health sector to deliver better immunisation services; and
  • give New Zealanders a way to record and track immunisations they have received and are entitled to.

AIR replaced the old National Immunisation Register (NIR) and COVID Immunisation Register (CIR).


Documents

Downloads

Download or order resources from the Community Health Information Centre.

Links

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

CANTERBURY, MID CANTERBURY AND CHATHAM ISLANDS
Ph: +64 3 364 1777

SOUTH CANTERBURY
Ph: +64 3 687 2600

WEST COAST
Ph: +64 3 768 1160



Protecting your pēpi from whooping cough starts during pregnancy.


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

0800 IMMUNE
0800 466863
8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday

For questions on the COVID-19 vaccine and how to book, call:

0800 28 29 26
8am to 8pm – 7 days a week.

0800 11 12 12 or text 8988 if you have a disability (24/7).

How to book a vaccine appointment

Other vaccines can be booked directly with your doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider – including those for children under the age of 13.


The HPV vaccine is safe, long-lasting and it’s FREE

HPV is a common virus that can cause 6 types of cancer – in the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, anus, and mouth/throat.

HPV vaccination can provide long-term protection for tamariki from HPV cancers.

The FREE vaccine is offered through most schools in Year 8. This is the best age to get it. If tamariki miss getting the HPV vaccine at school, they can still get it free at their medical centre.

Teens and young adults who didn’t have the HPV vaccine in Year 8 also need to be vaccinated. It’s free through their medical centre or family planning clinic up until their 27th birthday.

All tamariki should get the HPV vaccine in Year 8.



Page last updated: 18/04/2024

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