Immunisation is the most effective way to protect against vaccine-preventable diseases, such as whooping cough, tetanus and measles. For everything you need to know about immunisation in Aotearoa New Zealand, including when to immunise, how to book an appointment and more, please


Where to get immunisations for you and your family/whānau in Taranaki

Visit to find a list of all GPs, pharmacies, and Māori healthcare providers that offer vaccinations in your community. Pop-up community vaccination clinics are also available throughout Taranaki. Check out the schedule of upcoming clinics below.

Thursday 18 July 11am - 3.30pm Heartlands Hub, 21 Napier Street, Opunake


Immunisation frequently asked questions

Why is it important to immunise my child?

Immunisation helps our children avoid many diseases that can seriously harm them. When a child is immunised the vaccines teach their immune system to respond to parts of germs that aren’t dangerous, or to weakened or inactive viruses that can’t cause disease. After immunisation, the immune system can generate specialised cells to fight the infection if they are exposed to the disease, preventing them from getting sick.

Some parents focus more on the (rare) side effects of immunisation than on the diseases that immunisation protects against. The risk of serious side effects from immunisation is very low compared to the risk of complications or death should a child contract one of the vaccine-preventable diseases.

Immunisation is an important way to actively protect your child from these dangerous diseases.

How well does immunisation work?

Immunisation works very well to prevent a wide range of serious diseases. Sometimes, immunisation isn’t completely successful and it doesn’t protect children completely. In cases like this, children can get the disease, but don’t get as sick as they would if they weren’t immunised. While vaccines can’t provide 100% protection to all people, the more people that are immunised, the less the diseases will spread through the population. The people who are protected against the disease can protect the people who aren’t by reducing their risk of exposure to the germs.

Why does New Zealand start immunisation at six weeks of age?

New Zealand brought forward the first dose of the Childhood Immunisation Schedule from three months of age to six weeks of age in 1984. This followed an outbreak of whooping cough (pertussis) which affected those under three months most severely so infants could start developing pertussis protection sooner.

Many countries start their immunisation schedule at four weeks of age but New Zealand starts at six weeks of age to coincide with the six week post-natal check for both mothers and babies.

Why immunise on time?

Young infants are particularly at risk of serious complications from some diseases such as whooping cough, pneumococcal disease and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib disease). Starting immunisation at six weeks begins to provide protection during the most vulnerable periods of childhood. Delaying or missing immunisations increases the risk of getting a disease and reduces the protection when it’s needed most.

How do vaccines work?

When germs invade the body, the immune system deals with them by producing protective cells and small molecules called ‘antibodies’. When we come across a germ for the first time, our immune is often slow to respond and we get sick. After the infection, however, the immune system remembers how to make the antibody so if we come into contact with the same germ again the immune system responds quickly and usually deals with it before we get sick.

Vaccines work in the same way, but use a weakened, inactive form or fragment of the germ. In response to a vaccine, our natural immune system kicks in and produces the protective cells and antibodies to protect against the germ. Vaccines will not cause or give you the disease, but simply alert the immune system to recognise the invaders should they present again at a later stage.


Independent Vaccinator Application form
Reauthorisation of Independent Vaccinator Application form

Links - everything you need to know about immunisation in New Zealand - Health Promotion Agency - more resources - Immunisation Advisory Centre's (IMAC) website - Ministry of Health Website - Immunisation - Ministry of Health Website - National Immunisation Schedule - Whooping Cough Video - KidsHealth Website



Last updated: Wednesday, July 17, 2024

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