National Immunisation Schedule
The National Immunisation Schedule is a programme of publicly funded vaccines available in New Zealand. The Ministry of Health manages this schedule which is available free to infants and children under the age of 18 years old. The vaccines on the schedule are to provide protection (immunity) against vaccine preventable communicable diseases.
Immunisation helps prevent many serious childhood infections. This is a free service for children under the age of 18 years which is available from your primary health provider (your doctor). It is not necessary to see your doctor before you have these immunisations, your practice nurse can give these to your child.
When a child is immunised, their body's immune system is stimulated to protect against the diseases represented in the vaccine.
It is important to understand that the risk from any of these diseases far outweighs any risk associated with vaccination.
To develop good immune protection against a range of serious diseases there is a comprehensive schedule of immunisations (including boosters) that must be given over time. It is also important that these immunisations are given when they are due.
The Ministry of Health recommends that all children are immunised against:
You can find more information on recommended child immunisations on the Immunisation Advisory Centre website.
Tuberculosis vaccine (BCG vaccine)
Due to a worldwide shortage of the BCG vaccine, a temporary cessation of the BCG vaccination programme for children aged < 5 years is in place until further notice.
For more information visit the Ministry of Health website.
The BCG vaccine is for babies at higher risk of TB disease, which is defined as:
- babies at risk of catching TB from someone living in their house
- babies who are going to live in a country with a high rate of TB
- babies whose parents, household member or carer have in the last 6 months lived in a country with a high rate of TB
Countries with high rates of TB can be found on the Ministry of Health website.
Pregnant women are recommended to get the following free immunisations to protect them and their baby:
Adults aged 45 and 65 years
Adults aged 45 and 65 years are recommended to have booster vaccines against tetanus and diphtheria. The vaccine is free but people may be required to pay an administration fee for this service - see your medical centre.
Immunisation for adults and children at higher risk of severe disease or complications
Some immunisations are free for children and adults at high risk of severe disease or complications due to other medical conditions they have. These vaccines are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hib, human papillomavirus, influenza, meningococcal, pertussis (Tdap), pneumococcal, tuberculosis and varicella vaccines. For more information visit the Ministry of Health website.
The following vaccines are available for private purchase:
- Varicella vaccine to protect against chicken pox.
- Meningococcal vaccine to protect against 4 (A, C, Y, W 135) of the groups of meningococcal disease. For further
detail see Immunisation Advisory Centre website.
- Zoster vaccine to protect people aged 50 years and over against shingles.
Talk to your doctor if you are interested in getting more information about these vaccines.
Advice about immunisations and other measures to protect you and your family's health is available from specialist travel medicine centres and local medical centres.
For further information visit the SafeTravel website.