Immunise for life

Canterbury District Health Board

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Milestone: 11 years

At 11 your child will be due for a booster dose of Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (Whooping Cough); and in Canterbury, girls will also be due their Human Papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination.  All vaccinations are available at your doctor's and generally given by the practice nurse.

The HPV vaccine helps protect against cervical and other cancers caused by the Human Papilloma virus and is available to girls from 11 to 19 years of age.

To support general practice, school based programmes are also available as follows:

  • On the West Coast a school based programme is offered at aged 12 (in year 8).  The HPV vaccination teams will visit the majority of the schools on the West Coast.  However if you decide not to have your daughter vaccinated as part of the school programme, they can still receive the vaccine at general practice
  • In Canterbury a secondary school programme is offered at aged 14 (year 10). Again, this programme is designed to support general practice.

Consent forms for the school based HPV programmes will be sent to parents at the beginning of Term 1 each year.  If you want your daughter to take advantage of this programme, you need to return the completed form to the school. 

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.

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 cervical cancer?

Cervical cancer develops in the cervix and is caused by a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV). If not diagnosed early it can be very serious and can lead to death.