Immunisation is a reliable way to prevent some infections. Immunisation works by giving a person a vaccine, often a dead or modified version of the germ, against a particular disease. This makes the person’s immune system respond in a similar way to how it would respond if they actually had the disease, but with less severe symptoms. If the person comes in contact with that germ in the future, their immune system can rapidly respond and prevent the person becoming ill (Based on material provided by the Australian National Health and Medical Council).
Immunisation also protects other people who are not immunised, such as children who are too young to be immunised, or people whose immune systems did not respond to the vaccine. This is because the more people who are immunised against a disease, the lower the chance that a person will ever come into contact with someone who has the disease. The chance of an infection spreading in a community therefore decreases if a large proportion of people are immunised, because the immune people will not become infected and can protect the vulnerable people, this is known as ‘herd immunity’ (Source: Australian National Health and Medical Research Council).
Children's immunisation information
Staff should ask all parents to provide a copy of their child’s immunisation records. If the child has not been immunised tell the parents that their child will be excluded from care during outbreaks of some infectious diseases such as measles and pertussis, even if their child is well. A statement about excluding un immunised children should be included in the early childhood centres immunisation policy (Based on material provided by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council).
View the New Zealand National Immunisation Schedule here.
Use the below immunisation registers, you can type directly into these and save and print when needed.
Immunisation register - Maori
The Ministry of Health (Immunisation Handbook 2011) recommends early childhood centre staff are vaccinated to protect them against:
- Pertussis (whooping cough) - this is especially important for staff caring for the youngest children who are not fully immunised. Even if the adult was immunised in childhood, a booster may be necessary because immunity to whooping cough decreases over time. Protection from immunisation lasts about five to seven years. The adult booster immunisation also provides protection against tetanus and diphtheria (Based on material provided by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council).
- Measles–mumps–rubella (MMR) - people born in New Zealand before 1969 are assumed to be protected from measles as measles occurred frequently during this time. People born after 1969 need to have had two doses of a measles containing vaccine after 12 months of age or had measles diagnosed by a doctor to be protected against measles (Minstry of Health, 2011).
- Hepatitis B - as staff may come in contact with blood and body fluids during their work. Staff born in New Zealand after 1974 are likely to be protected as the hepatitis B has been given to babies in New Zealand since 1988, with a catch up programme in 1990 for children up to 16 years of age. Protection against hepatitis B is checked during pregnancy. If you are unsure your doctor can do a blood test to see if you have protection (Ministry of Health 2011).
- Hepatitis A - is recommended because young children can be infectious even if they are not showing any symptoms (Based on material provided by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council).
- Varicella vaccine (chicken pox) - for staff who have not previously had chicken pox, especially if they were born or lived in a tropical country where chicken pox is less common (Ministry of Health, 2011).
- Influenza vaccine (flu)- all staff should also consider having yearly flu vaccinations. The flu is very infectious and can spread through the air by coughing and sneezing, as well as by hands, cups and other objects that have been in contact with an infected person’s mouth or nose (Based on material provided by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council).
Please note - The measles vaccine is free for anyone who does not have protection against measles. Please discuss the cost of other vaccines with your local medical centre as they are not funded.