This articles provides parents with a basic outline on where to get immunised and includes information on what to expect when your child is immunised.
The where, what and who of immunisation
To have your child immunised, you need to visit your family doctor; these immunisations are free of charge for children in New Zealand. Visits happen at 6 weeks, 3 months, 5 months, 15 months and 4 years of age. There are also a couple of school-based immunisation programmes one at 11 years and one more- for girls only- at 12 years of age.
The family doctor based injections will normally be given by the practice nurse, who has been trained and authorised to give vaccinations.
They will discuss your child’s general and recent health with you. In most cases, even if your child is feeling a little poorly, the immunisations can be given. It is only those children who are really unwell, have specific immune system conditions or an allergy to a vaccine component, that might not be immunised. Although the doctor will be on the premises and will be aware that immunisations are being done, you will not usually need to see your doctor during the appointment.
The nurse will ask you to wait in the surgery for 20 minutes after the injection or medication, to ensure that your child does not suffer an allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. This is extremely rare (about one per million doses) Your nurse is trained and equipped to manage anaphylaxis.
All children have an immunisation record of their own (in their Well Child Book), which will need to be completed each time your child is immunised; so remember to take it with you and store it safely at home.
This immunisation record will be requested at various times; for example when your child starts early childhood education or school.
The staff at the practice will also record the immunisation on the computer for the New Zealand National Immunisation Register (NIR). This is an information system that holds the details of all immunisations given to children in New Zealand. This information can be used to help remind families when immunisations are due, and to ensure that those not protected by immunisations can be contacted in the event of an outbreak in their area. You can ‘opt off’ the NIR, and still be immunised.
Useful Immunisation Websites and Articles
Website of the Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) at The University of Auckland, providing independent, factual information, including benefits and risks, based on international and New Zealand medical research.
This link gives information on the government’s recommendations regarding immunisation for children in New Zealand
To read more about immunisation, read our Kiwi Families articles:
Informed Choice discusses the advantages and disadvantages of immunisation.
Immunisation schedule explains the procedure and how you can help your child.