Immunisation Week 2017: May 1–7

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Immunisation Week runs from 1–7 May. This year the theme is ‘Ensuring teenagers and older children are immunised’. 

The key messages for Immunisation Week 2017 are:

  • Make sure your teen is up-to-date with all their immunisations.
  • Immunisation at age 11–12 years provides protection against tetanus, whooping cough, HPV and other serious diseases.
  • Many teenagers missed out on measles, mumps and rubella immunisation as young children and need protection now against outbreaks.
  • The National Immunisation Schedule is changing to include chickenpox immunisation for children at age 15 months. Talk to your family doctor or practice nurse for more information.

Those born during the 1990s and early 2000s may have missed out on measles and other important immunisations because they were born before the National Immunisation Register reminded health professionals and parents when immunisations were due. Negative publicity relating to the MMR vaccine at the time may also have affected parents’ confidence in immunisation.  As a result, older children and teens are at particular risk of measles, which spreads quickly in schools when we have outbreaks.  Parents are invited to check their teen’s immunisation records to make sure they’re protected against measles and other serious diseases. 

Some older children may not have received tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough or HPV immunisation in schools, and the Week is a useful reminder to parents to take their children to their general practice to catch up.

As well as encouragement to immunise older children and teens, Immunisation Week is also an opportunity to inform parents about the upcoming availability of free chickenpox immunisation at age 15 months, starting from 1 July this year. 

Immunisation Week activities and media coverage aim to prompt parents to take action by making an immunisation appointment or having a chat with a health provider if they have questions or concerns.

Regionally based Authorised Providers will distribute resources to hospitals and primary care. The Immunisation Advisory Centre does not have a list of Authorised Providers. If you have any queries, please contact Robyn at the Health Promotion Agency via email: r.buckley@hpa.org.nz.