Extension of catch-up immunisation eligibility
Adolescent catch-up vaccines
Eligibilty for funded National Immunisation Schedule childhood catch-up vaccines has been extended for adolescents to their 18th birthday, in line with the Health and Disability Services Eligibility Direction 2011. Eligibility for funded Schedule childhood vaccines for children who are refugees or migrants has been extended up to their 18th birthday also. The Eligibility Direction describes the groups of people who are eligible for publicly funded, i.e. free or subsidised, health and disability services in New Zealand.
Previously, adolescents only had to their 16th birthday to catch-up a missed 11 year old Tdap dose and/or a course of hepatitis B vaccines and/or a fourth dose of Td vaccine. They are now eligible for these up to their 18th birthday.
The Immunisation Handbook 2011 does not reflect this change.
Adult catch-up vaccines
Adults are considered to be 18 years and over. Only adults who are New Zealand residents or who are recognised as a refugee under the 2009 or 2007 Immigration Acts or in the process of a claim or appeal for recognition as a refugee are eligible for funded Schedule vaccines.
Funded adult catch-up Schedule vaccines include a primary course of vaccines to protect them from tetanus & diphtheria (Td x 3 doses), polio (IPV x 3 doses) and measles, mumps & rubella (MMR x 2 doses if born on/after 1 January 1969). Eligible adult women aged 18 years to their 20th birthday are eligible for a primary course human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV x 3 doses). Only eligible adults who are household or sexual contacts of a person who is a hepatitis B carrier are eligible for free hepatitis B vaccine (Hep B x 3 doses).
PHARMAC have extended the availability of funded Boostrix® for pregnant women between 28-38 weeks gestation* from 1 January 2013.
*After immunisation protection against pertussis takes up to two weeks to develop. Whilst immunisation between 38-40 weeks gestation is still safe for mother and baby later immunisation means the newborn may still be exposed to the disease by their mother on delivery and/or during the first two weeks of life. The PHARMAC decision to limit funded Boostrix® to 28-38 weeks gestation maximises the benefit of immunisation against pertussis whilst being accountable for the use of public funds. Pregnant women can choose to purchase Boostrix® privately after 38 weeks gestation or at any time after delivery.
Considerations and commentary around this decision are available in the PHARMAC media release.