Immunisations are offered free from your GP doctor. They help protect against 11 serious diseases.
Some diseases can have serious complications including death, and often spread from older friends and family. As vaccination has prevented a lot of these diseases, many people have not seen their devastating effects. Serious preventable diseases still occur such as pneumococcal meningitis, blood poisoning and pneumonia that hospitalise around 150 preschoolers each year. A new vaccine is now given to prevent pneumococcal disease.
Immunisations work by making your baby’s immune system respond to the vaccine the same way it would to these diseases, but without the serious effects of the actual diseases.
They are given by injections, and protect against:
Read more about the diseases we immunise against.
Ask Plunket staff or your doctor for an immunisation schedule if you do not have one. The first immunisations are usually given when your baby is 6 weeks old, then at 3, 5 and 15 months and 4 years. Having all the immunisations is important for the best chance of strong protection.
Be there for your baby during immunisations. The Childhood Immunisation booklet may help answer any concerns. This is available from your doctor, practice nurse, Plunket nurse or well child health provider. Also you can ask the nurse who gives the immunisation any questions.
Watch a video clip about infant immunisation on the Raising Children In New Zealand website.
Plunket staff and other well child health providers aim to inform parents and caregivers about immunisation and the potential health issues for children if they are not immunised.
Serious reactions to vaccination are very rare. The area where the injection is given may become swollen and red. You may feel a lump under the skin (this may take several days or weeks to go). Cooling the area with a cold flannel can help the swelling and redness. The injections can make your baby unsettled or sleepy. Talk to your doctor or nurse about ways to manage this.
If you are concerned about your baby, contact a doctor. More information on immunisation is available from Plunket staff, your doctor, local public health service/unit or immunisation free phone 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863).