In New Zealand the Ministry of Health offers a series of vaccines free to all children to protect them from highly infectious diseases. The New Zealand National Immunisation Schedule is a series of immunisations, including boosters, given at specific times between the ages of six weeks and 12 years.

On 1 March 2023 the meningococcal B vaccine became free for all babies aged 12 months and under. It’s administered as part of the National Immunisation Schedule alongside the other infant immunisations. A free catch-up programme is available until 31 August 2025 for all other tamariki aged under 5 years old.

Top 10 Tips

1. Immunisation isn’t compulsory in New Zealand – parents can make an informed choice.

2. In the 12 month reporting period ending December 2022, 88.5% of eligible 12 month old babies in NZ were fully immunised.

3. If you choose to immunise your child, it’s important you get them vaccinated as close as possible to the recommended dates.

4. Injections will be given at a doctor’s surgery, usually by a nurse, and are free to all families.

5. Try to remain calm and relaxed, even if your child is upset. Bring along a favourite stuffed toy or blanket for your child to hold, or use it to distract them.

6. Hold your child firmly, talking calmly and gently stroking their arm or back to reassure them.

7. Your child may cry for a brief time after their injection. Feeding babies straight after may help them settle.

8. You will need to remain in the clinic for 20 minutes to make sure all is well.

9. If your child has a serious reaction, report it to your doctor. They are responsible for reporting it to CARM, the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring.

10. Use Paracetamol only when necessary to reduce pain and distress as it can reduce the immune response.

This video below goes through the majority of the free childhood immunisations that are available in New Zealand, and why they are given. However, please note it has not been updated to include the Meningococcal B, Chickenpox, Flu and COVID-19 vaccines.

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