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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Vaccinations for preschool children

Ngā rongoā āraimate mō ngā tamariki

All tamariki (children) born in New Zealand are recorded on the National Immunisation Register. This is a confidential, computerised information system that records children's vaccinations.

Your lead maternity carer or general practice team will discuss the register with you, including what information is collected and stored and who can see it.

Tamariki may visit many different healthcare providers. The National Immunisation Register makes sure information about your child's vaccinations is always available, even if you move away or change doctor.

It also helps to make sure that your tamaiti (child) receives the right vaccinations at the right ages. It does this by reminding your healthcare provider when your child's vaccinations are due and when they're overdue.

General practices and Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand also use the register to monitor how many people are being vaccinated and to assess the risk of a disease epidemic. An epidemic happens when a disease is widespread in the community. To reduce the spread of disease, New Zealand health professionals aim to ensure 95% of tamariki under the age of 5 are vaccinated.

If you choose not to have your tamaiti vaccinated, this is recorded on the register.

If you do not want your child's vaccinations details to be recorded, you may opt off the register. If you do this, you can still have your tamaiti vaccinated. You'll need to complete and sign a form that your lead maternity carer or general practice team will provide.

Enrolling your tamaiti

It's best to contact your general practice and enrol your tamaiti soon after they're born, as their first vaccinations are due when they're 6 weeks old.

Preschool vaccinations

There are several serious vaccine-preventable diseases that can harm or even be fatal for pēpi (babies). Make sure you protect your pēpi by having them vaccinated on time to ensure a healthy start. You will not need to pay for these vaccinations at your general practice.

Your general practice team are there to support you and your pēpi, to answer any concerns you may have and to give any advice you need after the vaccinations.

Manatū Hauora – Ministry of Health recommends that you have your tamaiti vaccinated according to the National Immunisation Schedule. Vaccinations are scheduled at 6 weeks, 3 months, 5 months, 12 months, 15 months and 4 years.

The vaccinations protect tamariki against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib disease), rotavirus, pneumococcal disease, measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), chickenpox and meningococcal disease.

From the age of 6 months, tamariki can also have the seasonal flu vaccination. This is normally available at general practices between April and December each year.

Getting vaccinations on time helps to reduce the chance of infections being passed to young pēppi who may not have had all their vaccinations or to other tamariki who cannot be vaccinated because of medical conditions.

If your pēpi is born prematurely and still in hospital when their vaccinations are due, they will be vaccinated there.

If your tamaiti isn't fully vaccinated, they can be excluded from school or preschool if there is a disease outbreak.

Helpful hints for new parents

Usually the practice nurse gives vaccinations, but the GP often likes to meet the new pēpi and do a six-week check. So, do not be surprised if you see them both. This helps the general practice team develop an understanding of you and your family's changing needs.

Take your child's Well Child Tamariki Ora health book with you every time you go for their vaccinations. The practice nurse will record the details in it for you to keep. You'll need to show it when your tamaiti has their B4 school check and when they enrol at school.

If you're bringing other tamariki along or are getting more than one tamaiti vaccinated at the same time, let the practice nurse know and they will do all they can to make the visit less stressful.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

Written by the Canterbury Immunisation Provider Group. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed July 2021.


See also:

Vaccination safety

Page reference: 48028

Review key: HIIMM-47872