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HealthInfo Canterbury

Vaccinations for adults

Keeping yourself and your community safe from disease is a lifelong commitment. If you don't think you are fully up to date with your vaccinations, check with your general practice.

Diphtheria and tetanus

At 45 and 65 years old you should have a booster dose against diphtheria and tetanus if you haven't had one in the last 10 years. You may have to pay a small charge for the vaccination.


Everyone over 6 months old should have a flu vaccination each year, especially people who live or work with vulnerable people such as children and older people. If you are 65 or over, pregnant, or have a chronic health condition you will not have to pay to get this vaccination at your general practice.


Pertussis (whooping cough) is free at your doctor's if you are 28 to 38 weeks pregnant. By protecting yourself you are also protecting the baby. The best time in pregnancy for the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine is when you are 31 to 33 weeks pregnant, when you can pass some protective antibodies through the placenta to your baby.

Pertussis is a serious disease and in New Zealand there are outbreaks every three to four years, infecting many vulnerable people. We recommend women have this vaccination at every pregnancy.

If you are living or working with vulnerable people, especially newborns, it's best to get this vaccination every five or 10 years (although you will be charged for it). Young babies do not have the best possible protection from pertussis until they have completed their first three vaccinations at 6 weeks, 3 months and 5 months.


The Zostavax vaccine is used to protect adults against shingles.

From 1 April 2018, Zostavax is funded for 65-year-olds. This means you can get a free vaccination at your general practice.

For two years from 1 April 2018, you can also get a free vaccination at your general practice if you're between 66 and 80.

If you're between 50 and 65, or 81 or older, you can get the vaccination at your general practice and some pharmacies, but you'll have to pay for it.

  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

Written by the Canterbury Immunisation Provider Group. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed May 2018. Last updated November 2018.

See also:

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis B

Page reference: 370198

Review key: HIIMM-47872