Immunisation in New Zealand
When your baby is born, he or she is protected against a variety of infections by your antibodies, which have passed to your baby during pregnancy. If you breastfeed your newborn baby, further antibodies pass to him or her through your breast milk. These antibodies help to protect your child against a range illness and diseases, particularly tummy bugs.
These antibodies are short lived and only protect against some diseases, some antibodies last a few weeks, orthers a few months. Your child will begin making their own antibodies as soon as they are born.
Although your antibodies provide important protection for baby early on against some infections, there are some other diseases that they are still vulnerable to.
In the past many children died from diseases such as whooping cough polio and diphtheria. Now, it is possible to immunise your child against these, and other serious diseases.
In New Zealand, your child's immunisations are free. In most cases, they are provided by your local GP or Practice Nurse. If you are not sure who provides immunisation in your area, check with your Well Child Health provider.
The New Zealand Immunisation Schedule can be found here.
Deciding whether or not to immunise your child is a very personal choice, and a small percentage of parents choose not to have their children immunised, for various reasons.
The Immunisation Advisory Council (IMAC) is a nationwide organization based at The University of Auckland. They provide independent, factual information about immunisation and preventable diseases. The information is based on international and New Zealand medical research. The Immunisation Advisory Centre can help you make decisions about your child's health. For questions related to immunisation and vaccination-preventable diseases check out their website at www.immune.org.nz or freephone 0800 IMMUNE (466 863). The Ministry of Heath website also has an immunisation page which provides further information.