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Immunisation Week – get the basics right

Immunisation Week – get the basics right

Over the last two years New Zealand has marked International Immunisation Week, and this year we focus on getting the basics right. Dr Nikki Turner, Director of the Immunisation Advisory Centre says:

“By sticking to the Immunisation Schedule and immunising on time every time, you have the best possible protection against preventable diseases.”

At times parents may be concerned their little one is not ready for their immunisation visit, but even at six weeks old your baby’s immune system is coping with millions of challenges from everything they breathe, lick or stick in their mouth, “babies are well equipped to easily process their vaccines and delaying visits just increases the risk of picking something nasty up”, says Dr Turner.

We are just coming through a severe whooping cough epidemic where three young infants died.

Immunising on time is very important to give our infants the best possible protection. For protection of those very young infants too young to have been fully immunised, pregnant women should also receive the vaccine. They can pass on protection in the womb to the new born.

This week is also a timely reminder for those not so young to check their immunisations are up to date. Whilst Australia has been declared one of the first Western Pacific nations to be measles free, New Zealand continues to experience serious outbreaks, caused by those catching measles overseas and spreading it to others.

Dr Turner notes that “many teenagers and younger adults may have missed measles vaccination when they were younger.

Anyone who is unsure of their vaccination history needs a measles vaccination as soon as possible, free from your local general practice. With too many unimmunised people in our community diseases like measles are finding it too easy to take hold and spread in our communities. It’s never too late to catch up and stop the spread of these preventable diseases”.

Ends

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