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Immunisation Week targets immunisation for older kids and teens

Waikato DHB is celebrating Immunisation Week on May 1-7 along with the rest of New Zealand with the theme of ‘Ensuring teenagers and older children are immunised.”

Parents and caregivers are encouraged to check their teen’s immunisation records to make sure have received their recommended immunisations.

Ministry of Health immunisation posterThe campaign stresses the importance of immunisation for older children and teens.

Waikato DHB actively works with schools to implement the national annual school-based immunisation programme for teens, which includes immunisation against a range of cancers caused by the HPV virus.

Immunisation against HPV is due around age 12 years, and is important for younger teens because it protects them before they are likely to be exposed to the disease. A booster immunisation against tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough due at age 11 renews the protection that children received as babies and toddlers.

Today’s teenagers may have missed out on the protection they should have received as young children, because they were born before our processes for reminding parents of immunisations that are due and tracking immunisation rates were developed. Measles in particular is a risk for this age group, and spreads quickly in schools when we have outbreaks.

Messages for parents:

  • In any doubt about your child’s immunisation status? Check with your GP and arrange any catch-ups.
  • Support the free school immunisation programme by ensuring your child has your consent to participate and get the benefits of immunisation for life.
  • Help your teenagers find good quality information about immunisation – and the harm these diseases can cause to individuals and communities if we are not immunised.

Recommended websites:

http://www.hpa.org.nz/what-we-do/immunisation – NZ Health Protection Agency information about HPV

http://www.waikatodhb.health.nz/public-health-advice/hpv123/ – Information about HPV on Waikato DHB’s website

https://www.healthed.govt.nz/resource/immunise-your-child-time-%E2%80%93-english-version – includes the national schedule of immunisations by age, and information about all the diseases immunisation protects against.

Some good videos on YouTube suitable for teenagers

How do vaccines work? TED Ed animated video

What are vaccines and how do they work? OSU Ecampus animated video

Why vaccines work – by It’s OK to be smart

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