Immunise for life

Canterbury District Health Board

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Milestone: 45 - 65 Years

Keeping yourself and your community safe from disease is a lifelong commitment. Here are the key immunisations to remember:

  • Diphtheria and Tetanus - You should have a booster dose at 45 and 65 years old against Diphtheria and Tetanus.  There may be a small charge for administering the vaccine.
  • Everyone over six months old should have aSeasonal Influenza vaccination each year, especially if you are living or working with vulnerable people, such as children and elderly.  There is no charge at your general practice if you are 65 or over, pregnant, or have a chronic health condition.
  • Pertussis (whooping cough) is free in Canterbury at your doctor's if you are 28 weeks pregnant and up to 2 weeks after your baby is born.  If you are living or working with vulnerable people especially newborns, it is recommended that you get the vaccine (although there will be a charge for it). Young babies do not have the best possible protection from Pertussis until they have completed their first 3 vaccinations at 6 weeks, 3 months and 5 months.

If you don't think you are fully up to date with your vaccinations, check with your general practice team. 

Frequently Asked Questions

QHow does immunisation work?

Vaccines work by causing the body's immune system to make protective cells and antibodies. Vaccines contain small parts of the bacteria or virus or a weakened form such that that they can no longer cause the disease. If your child comes in contact with one of the diseases they have been immunised against, existing antibodies will be there to protect them and their body will be able to produce more antibodies quickly.

QAre there any side effects from immunisation?

Some, but not all babies and children may have side effects from their injections. However, serious side effects such as anaphylaxis (an extreme allergic reaction) are very rare and for most vaccines, occur once in around 1 million doses.

Your baby may develop:

  • Redness, swelling or tenderness at the site of the injection
  • Be generally irritable and unwell
  • Develop a high temperature

Please remember that the most common side effects listed above are a normal part of the body's immune response and pose a far lower risk to your child than the actual disease.

If you have any concerns it is important that you contact your general practice team or local medical centre to discuss.

QWhy do you need to have booster doses?

Immunity to diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio can reduce over time and therefore a top up is important to boost your child's level of disease fighting antibodies and help keep them protected.

QWhat is Diptheria?

While diphtheria is no longer circulating in New Zealand, it is important to continue immunising against it until it has been totally irradicated throughout the world. Diphtheria is serious. It generally begins with a sore throat and can cause breathing problems, damage the heart and nervous system and in some cases cause death.

QWhat is Tetanus?

Tetanus is caused by a bacterium that commonly occurs in the soil. They get into the body through cuts and burns. It is a disease that affects the nervous system and can lead to muscle spasms and partial paralysis.