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Immunisation

What is the NIR?

The National Immunisation Register (NIR) is a computerised information system developed to hold immunisation details of New Zealand children. This assists in improving immunisation rates, individual protection against vaccine-preventable diseases and protection for the community against recurring epidemics.

Immunisation is the most effective way to actively protect your child from vaccine preventable diseases, such as whooping cough, tetanus and measles.

The body uses specialised immune system cells and generates small molecules called 'antibodies' to fight infections, but very young children’s immune systems don’t have the experience to mount effective responses against germs. The first time we come across a germ, it takes a while for the immune response to get going, and in the mean time we get sick. The next time we come across the same germ, the body will be able to remember the infection and mount a much faster response.

Immunisation works in a similar way. Vaccines are made of components of the germ that can’t cause disease or form weakened versions of viruses. Through the delivery of a vaccine, the immune system is taught to respond to the harmless version of the germ so that it can respond quickly when faced with a real infection and stop us from getting sick. The vaccine doesn’t cause the disease, but teaches the immune system to recognise the invaders in the future.

Some of the diseases immunised against are very serious in young children. Some, like measles, are highly contagious and usually fairly mild, but pose a risk of serious complications. The safest and most effective way to ensure the good health of your child is to protect them from getting the diseases at all.

The immunisation schedule is structured to provide the best protection for our children when they are most at risk. Starting at six weeks, children can be protected from the potentially dangerous diseases that they may encounter. It is very important to stick to the schedule – not immunising your child increases the risk of them getting the infection. Not keeping up-to-date with immunisations reduces the protection that the immunisation can provide.

More information about Immunisation

NZ Immunisation Schedule

The Immunisation Schedule is the series of vaccines offered free to babies, children, adolescents and adults.

Immunisation FAQs

Here you'll find answers to a number of frequently asked questions regarding immunisation.

Immunisation related resources

Here you'll find links to a number of different resources regarding immunisation.

HPV immunisation programme

Here you'll find information and links regarding the HPV immunisation programme.

Influenza (Flu)

Influenza – or the flu – is a virus that spreads quickly from person to person.

Whooping cough vaccine

Whooping cough is an infection that causes a cough that can go on for weeks or months.