6 weeks, 3 months, 5 months,
15 months and 4 years
There are a number of serious vaccine preventable diseases that
can harm or even be fatal for babies. Make sure you protect your
baby by having them immunisedon timeto ensure a healthy start.
These immunisations are free through your general practice
In New Zealand, the Ministry of Health recommends that you have
your child immunised according to the National Immunisation
Schedule. Vaccinations are scheduled for:
- At six weeks, three months and five months to protect them
Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib disease), Rotavirus
- At 15 months to protect them against Measles, Mumps, Rubella and a
booster dose for Hib and Pneumococcal disease
- At 4 years of age to protect them against Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Diphtheria,
(Whooping cough) and Polio.
Getting age appropriate vaccinations on time helps reduce the
chance of infections being passed onto young babies who may not
have had all of their immunisations, or other children who cannot
be immunised because of medical conditions.
Your child can be excluded from school or pre-school in the
event of a disease outbreak if they are not fully
Helpful Hints for new parents
Immunisations are usually given by the practice nurse, but the
doctor often likes to meet the new baby, so don't be surprised if
you see them both at the 6 week event. This is part of
the wider general practice team developing an understanding of you
and your family's changing needs.
Take your child'sWell Child Tamariki Orahealth book with you
every time you go for their vaccinations. The practice nurse will
record the details in it for you to keep. This record will be asked
for when they have their B4 School check and when they enrol at
If you are bringing other children along, or are getting
more than one child vaccinated at the same time, let the practice
nurse know and they will do all they can to make the visit less
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
- 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.
- QHow is my baby immunised?
A suitably qualified health professional will inject the vaccine
into the muscle in your baby's thigh. Children over 12 months will
be injected in their upper arm. The good thing is that children
will build immunity against six diseases following each of their
first three immunisations at six weeks, three months and five
months. It is very important that each child has all three
immunisations, each consisting of two separate injections.
- QWhy do babies get immunised three times for the same thing?
Most immunisations require multiple doses to build up the
immunity levels required to give your baby the best possible
protection against disease.
- QWhat happens if my baby misses an injection?
It is best to immunise on time but it is never too late to have
your baby immunised, even if they are older than the recommended
age. Talk to your general practice team or your Plunket/Tamariki
Ora nurse to discuss, or make an appointment to continue or start
the immunisation schedule.
- 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
- 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.
- QWhat is Whooping Cough?
Babies under the age of one year are at the highest risk of
contracting Whooping Cough (pertussis). In babies the disease can
be very serious, even fatal. Symptoms include coughing and choking
leading to breathing difficulties.
- QWhat is Polio?
Like diphtheria, polio is no longer circulating in New Zealand
but immunisation continues as a safeguard against infection brought
in from other parts of the world. Polio is a disease that attacks
the nervous system, can cause permanent paralysis of muscles and
can be potentially fatal.
- QWhat is Hepatitis B?
Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver. It is
spread via infected blood and body fluids getting into cuts and
sores, or through sexual contact. Most often hepatitis B isn't
serious in young children, however the younger they are infected,
the more likely they are to become a carrier of the disease and
suffer from more serious liver disease such as cirrhosis in the
- QWhat is Pneumococcal disease?
Pneumococcal bacteria (Streptococcal pneumoniae) can cause
meningitis, blood poisoning (septicaemia) and pneumonia. It can
also cause ear infections.
- QWhat is Meningitis?
Meningtitis is an infection of the protective membrane that
covers the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by several types
of bacteria or virus. It comes on very quickly and is potentially
life threatening and so it is really important to be aware of the
symptoms. Early symptoms are flu like - cold, fever, vomiting,
restlessness, a stiff neck and intolerance of bright light or loud
noises. Sometimes a characteristic rash that doesn't fade when
pressed beneath a clear drinking glass may be seen.
- QWhat is HIB (Haemophilus Influenzae type b)?
Hib disease is a bacterial infection that can cause a number of
serious and potentially fatal complications such as blood
poisoning, pneumonia and meningitis if not treated quickly.
Children under five are most at risk.