Protect our most valuable taonga
Babies are vulnerable and need to be immunised, with the first vaccination due at six weeks of age.
Toi Te Ora - Public Health Service recommends immunisation as a safe and effective way of preventing a number of serious childhood diseases such as whooping cough, pneumococcal disease and Hepatitis B. Childhood immunisations are free.
Immunising at six weeks means babies are protected when they are most vulnerable
Young babies are at particular risk of certain diseases because of the relative immaturity of the infant immune system. This also means diseases can be more serious in young babies.
For example, New Zealand is currently experiencing a whooping cough epidemic which led to 182 babies under the age of one being hospitalised during 2012. In the one to four year old age group, only 28 children were hospitalised (ESR Pertussis Report, January 2013). Additionally, infants who are late with their immunisations are five times more likely to be admitted to hospital with whooping cough than those who have been immunised on time.
Starting your baby's immunisation at six weeks old and then continuing to immunise on time, every time is ideal; but if your child has missed one of their vaccinations, it's never too late to catch up. Contact your local medical centre for an appointment today.
Immunisation protects against many serious childhood diseases
The diseases that babies are immunised against in the first year can and do cause serious harm both here and overseas. For example, around five out of ten babies who catch whooping cough before the age of six months require hospitalisation and 1-2 in 100 of those who are hospitalised die from whooping cough infection.
If more parents make sure their children are vaccinated, the community as a whole will be better protected. This lowers the chance of outbreaks of disease.
Even the healthiest children can catch these diseases if they are not immunised
When contact occurs for the first time, a person becomes ill while their immune system prepares a response. Healthier children do not necessarily have milder forms of the illness and so immunisation is important for all children.
A young baby’s immune system can easily cope with immunisation
Babies deal with viruses and bacteria every day and so are constantly making antibodies against these. Immunisation (including multiple vaccines) makes the most of this natural process and does not ‘overload’ the immune system.
Breastfeeding and good hygiene are great, but do not provide adequate protection against diseases
Breastfeeding can reduce the severity and frequency of chest, ear and gut infections. However, breastfeeding does not provide specific protection against diseases like whooping cough.
Good hygiene will reduce the chance of some infections, but cannot provide 100 percent protection.
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