Immunisation Week a good time to make sure your family is immunised
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27 April 2016
 
The Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) views Immunisation Week as the ideal time for parents to really consider why it’s important to immunise their children to protect them from a range of diseases.
 
While WDHB staff acknowledge that parents have the right to decline immunisation, we also recognise that the children of these parents only enjoy protection from a number of diseases because of the responsible actions of the parents who have had their children immunised.

 
- WDHB chief executive Julie Patterson
 
 
‘Protecting baby begins at pregnancy’ is the theme for this year’s national Immunisation Week from 2 May to 9 May.
 
Whanganui Regional Health Network (WRHN) immunisation coordinator Sue Hina says it’s an ideal time to highlight the need for pregnant women to be vaccinated against the flu, and to ensure they receive a Boostrix vaccination between 28-38 weeks of their pregnancy.
 
“Because pregnant women are more at risk of being hospitalised with influenza we urge them to have a flu vaccination during their pregnancy to protect themselves and their baby,” Mrs Hina says.
 
“The Boostrix vaccination protects both mothers and babies from whooping cough (pertussis) which several doctors working in the Whanganui region have had to treat in the last few weeks.
 
“To fully protect a child from preventable diseases, the mother must be vaccinated during pregnancy and the child at six weeks, three months, five months, 15 months and at the ages of four, 11 and 12.
 
“Enrolling babies with a general practice as soon as they are born helps ensure they receive the care they need. It can’t be stressed enough how important it is for children to complete their full course of vaccines to protect them against preventable diseases such as measles and whooping cough.
 
“It’s been very pleasing to receive results showing that 92 percent of Whanganui’s 8-month olds and 94 percent of two-year olds are fully immunised on time. This is a reflection of our local families/whanau making a proactive choice to protect their children.”

Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) and WRHN fully support the push to focus this year’s seasonal influenza immunisation programme towards pregnant women and their newborn babies. Healthy, pregnant women are up to 18 times more likely to be admitted to hospital when suffering from influenza than non-pregnant women. The influenza vaccine can be given at any time during a woman’s pregnancy - there are no safety concerns around this.

Meanwhile, WDHB immunisation coordinator Karen Page says school clinics for Year 7 and 8 vaccinations for Boostrix and HPV will run from 16 May to 10 June this year. Ms Page asks parents to return their consent forms to their children’s school as soon as possible.
 
“Boostrix protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, while the Gardasil HPV vaccine protects against multiple cancers and other conditions such as genital warts and recurrent respiratory papillomatosis,” Ms Page says. “It also has a role to play in preventing some adverse pregnancy events such as miscarriage, prematurity and low birth weight. Vaccinated girls are less likely to require treatment for cervical abnormalities caused by the HPV infection.”
  
 
Families can have their children vaccinated free of charge at:
  • their local doctor’s practice
  • the weekly clinic (Tuesdays, 9am-5pm) at WRHN’s Heads Road offices
  • phone WRHN Manaaki Te Whanau team on 0800 775 001 to arrange a time to suit you.
Influenza immunisation is free from primary health care practice nurses for New Zealanders at high risk of complications – pregnant women, people aged 65 and over, and anyone under 65 years of age, including children six months and older, with long-term health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease (including asthma), kidney disease and most cancers. For further information go to www.fightflu.co.nzwww.health.govt.nz/influenzawww.immune.org.nz or call 0800 IMMUNE 0800 466 863.