Getting babies immunised on time is one of the best ways of protecting them from potentially fatal diseases like whooping cough, meningitis and pnuemonia. High immunisation rates also help protect other vulnerable people in our communities who aren’t able to be immunised.
Achieving record immunisation rates for under two-year-olds last year was a great result, says Ministry of Health Immunisation champion Dr Pat Tuohy. “And it is fantastic that we are already close to achieving our target of immunising 95 percent of all eight-month-old babies”.
“We’re seeing just how vital on-time vaccination for babies is at the moment with the current whooping cough outbreak. It takes all three vaccinations at six weeks, three months and five months to make sure baby is fully vaccinated, protecting them from whooping cough and other serious illnesses. It’s vital these are on time to reduce the baby’s chance of catching the disease,” says Dr Tuohy.
Parents sharing their experience of whooping cough with their babies on the Ministry of Health’s website also help raise awareness of the disease as rates in New Zealand continue to remain high.
Babies are particularly vulnerable to whooping cough until they have received all three immunisations at six weeks, three months and five months old. It is therefore important to immunise on time, every time, and for people who are ill to stay away from babies until they are fully immunised.
Mothers can also help protect their newborn babies by having a whooping cough booster in the last few weeks of their pregnancy.
The Ministry of Health along with its partners are working to increase infant immunisation rates through:
- Promoting immunisation through primary and community health services
- linking pregnant women into maternity services sooner
- assisting pregnant women to enrol with a GP before their baby is born
- speeding up enrolment of newborn babies with GPs.
You can read more here.