Ministry of HealthFriday 01 July 2011, 2:11PM
Media release from Ministry of Health
Children will get more protection from pneumococcal disease with
the launch today of the new childhood Immunisation Schedule.
The schedule is the series of free immunisations offered to all
babies and children in New Zealand. It is updated every three years
to include new and improved vaccines that protect against 11
From today, premature babies and children with medical conditions
that put them at high risk of becoming seriously ill with
pneumococcal disease will be offered a vaccine that provides
protection against 13 instead of 7 strains.
All other New Zealand children will be offered a pneumococcal
vaccine that protects against 10 instead of 7 strains from later
this year, once supplies of the existing vaccine run out.
Babies and young children with pneumococcal disease can get very
sick with ear infections, pneumonia or meningitis. Some die.
Disease rates in the under-twos have halved since a pneumococcal
vaccine was first added to New Zealand's Immunisation Schedule in
The other key change to the Schedule is that babies from fewer
countries will need tuberculosis immunisation.
Immunisation is one of the Government's six Health Targets.
Currently about 90 percent of New Zealand children have had all the
recommended immunisations by their second birthday.
The Target is to reach 95 percent by July 2012 - a level that
provides community immunity or protection for everyone from
outbreaks of diseases like measles.
Increased immunisation rates are already contributing to
significant improvements to children's health. This is important
because it means that the amount of long-term disability caused by
these illnesses is also reducing.
The new Immunisation Schedule is attached. More information can be
found in the new Immunisation Handbook available online at
www/moh/govt.nz/immunisation or by contacting the Immunisation
Advisory Centre free helpline 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863).