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According to the Ministry of Health "Immunisation is a way of preventing infectious diseases. Vaccinations are offered to babies, children and adults to protect against serious and preventable diseases." 

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The meningococcal vaccine protects against meningococcal disease. Find out about the vaccine and possible side effects.


What is a meningococcal vaccine?

Meningococcal vaccines are used to protect against meningococcal disease. Meningococcal disease is caused by a bacteria called Neisseria meningitidis. The disease can lead to serious illnesses, including meningitis (inflammation of your brain membranes) and septicaemia (blood poisoning). These illnesses can develop quickly over a few hours and can cause serious disability or death, even among people who are otherwise healthy. Read more about meningococcal disease


Meningococcal vaccines reduce the number of people carrying N. meningitidis bacteria, thereby reducing the spread of the bacteria to your whānau and your community. Meningococcal disease can affect anyone of any age, but some people are more at risk. Read more here.  

At least 12 groups of N. meningitidis have been identified. These groups are named by letters. The pattern of disease caused by each group varies by time and country, or geographical area. The most common groups in Aotearoa New Zealand are A, B, C, Y and W. There is no single vaccine that offers protection against all groups.


Which meningococcal vaccines are available in Aotearoa New Zealand?

 There are 4 different meningococcal vaccines registered in New Zealand to cover the different groups:

  • Menactra® covers groups A, C, W, Y   

  • NeisVac-C® covers group C 

  • Nimenrix® covers groups A, C, W, Y

  • Bexsero® covers group B.

How is meningococcal vaccine given?

Meningococcal vaccine is given by injection into a muscle, commonly your mid-thigh or upper arm. The number of doses required depends on the brand used and the age at which the first dose is given. You can receive more than one meningococcal vaccine at a time.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Meningococcal vaccines are non-live vaccines and are safe to be given during all stages of your pregnancy and during breastfeeding.

To read more about meningococcal you can visit below.


Shingrix (Shingles)

Shingrix® is approved for use for the prevention of herpes zoster (shingles) and herpes zoster complications such as post herpetic neuralgia (PHN) in adults aged over 50 years. PHN is a debilitating and painful condition, particularly in older people. It is recommended, but not funded, for all individuals aged from 50 years. It is particularly recommended for individuals have an increased risk of zoster and zoster complications and for those who have contraindications to the live zoster vaccine (Zostavax). The effectiveness of this vaccine does not decrease when given to older age groups (with an efficacy of around 90% against zoster and PHN), so those aged over 70 years will also be protected and a high level of protection (over 80%) has been shown to be maintained for more than seven years, so far.

Shingrix is an adjuvanted subunit vaccine that contains recombinant VZV glycoprotein E (gE). Unlike the live attenuated zoster vaccine, 

                                                             Whooping cough 


The pertussis vaccine offers protection against the bacterial infection pertussis (whooping cough).


What is pertussis vaccine?

Pertussis vaccine offers protection against the bacterial infection pertussis (whooping cough). It works by causing the body to produce antibodies against the bacteria responsible for the pertussis infection and in this way protects (or provides immunity) against the disease.

Immunity to pertussis develops within 10 to 14 days of receiving the vaccine. However, the effectiveness of the vaccine lessens with time and protection can be expected to last between 5 to 10 years in children. 

If pertussis vaccination is given after you have already become infected with pertussis, the vaccination will be ineffective in preventing whooping cough. Read more about whooping cough.


The pertussis vaccine also protects against other diseases such as tetanus and diphtheria. Read more about it's use for diphtheria and tetanus.

Who should be immunised against pertussis?

There are three main groups of people who should have the vaccine and for these groups it is free, as part of the New Zealand  immunisation schedule: 

  • babies: at 6 weeks, 3 months and 5 months of age
    (even if the mother has had the vaccine in pregnancy)

  • children: at 4 years and 11 years of age 

  • pregnant women: from 16 weeks’ gestation of every pregnancy, in their second or third trimester (see pregnancy and immunisation). 

If you have missed getting your vaccine, that’s okay. Talk to your healthcare provider about catch up doses. To be fully protected against whooping cough, it is really important to have the pertussis vaccine at the ages above. 


Note: Pertussis vaccine is recommended for other high-risk groups – check with your healthcare team if you should get the pertussis vaccine. 




Age: Given to children at 11 years of age, as part of the primary immunisation and pregnant women, from 16 weeks’ gestation of every pregnancy,  in their second or third trimester (see pregnancy and immunisation).  

Protection: This brand of pertussis vaccine protects against pertussis  and other infections including diphtheria, and tetanus. 

Note: As Boostrix also contains protection against tetanus, it is recommended in adults aged 45 years (who have not had 4 previous tetanus doses) and those aged 65 years. Read more about tetanus vaccine.  


For more information you can visit the website below: 

                                                                              MMR Vaccine 

What is the MMR vaccine?

The MMR vaccine protects you against 3 viral infections – measles, mumps and rubella. The vaccine is a live vaccine, which is made using the mumps, measles and rubella viruses that have been weakened (or attenuated). After vaccination, the weakened vaccine viruses replicate (grow) inside you. This means a very small dose of virus is given to activate your immune system.

Just one dose of MMR gives you a 95% chance of being protected against measles. The reason for a second dose is to make sure the 5% who need this second vaccine get immunity. 


Live attenuated vaccines do not usually cause problems in people who are healthy. If it does cause symptoms of the disease, it is milder than if you had caught the disease. 


There is no evidence that the MMR vaccine causes autism.


Why is vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella important?

Vaccination with the MMR vaccine is the best way to protect against measles, mumps and rubella. While these infections may be mild in some people, they can cause serious complications in others.

  • Measles: The infection can be serious, with 1 in 10 needing to go to hospital. Complications include diarrhoea (which can lead to dehydration), ear infections (which can cause hearing loss), pneumonia (which is the most common cause of death) and encephalitis (brain inflammation), which can cause brain damage. Read more about measles.

  • Mumps: The symptoms of mumps are usually mild, such as swollen salivary glands (at the side of your face), headache and fever, but it can cause serious complications such as deafness, swollen testicles or ovaries, and meningitis. Read more about mumps.

  • Rubella (also called German measles): This is usually a mild infection that gets better within about 7–10 days, but it becomes a serious concern if a pregnant woman catches the infection during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. This is because the rubella virus can affect the development of the baby and cause severe health problems such as eye problems, deafness, heart abnormalities and brain damage. Read more about rubella


How is the MMR vaccine given?

The MMR vaccine is given as an intramuscular injection (injected into a muscle in your thigh or upper arm). It is given as 2 doses at least four weeks apart.

How effective is the MMR vaccine?

After a single dose of MMR vaccine, 90–95 out of 100 people will be protected from measles, 69–81 protected from mumps and 90–97 from rubella. After a second dose of MMR vaccine the number of people protected from these diseases increases, and almost everyone will be protected from measles and rubella, and up to 88% protected from mumps.


It's really important to have both doses of the vaccine so you are well protected.

Who should get the MMR vaccine?

  • Anyone born on/after 1 January 1969 who has not had two doses of the MMR vaccine should have the MMR vaccine.

  • Adults born before 1969 are considered to be immune to measles as measles was very infectious before 1969 so most adults were highly likely to be exposed. The MMR vaccine may still be needed for protection from mumps and rubella – check with your doctor if you are not sure.

  • The MMR vaccine is part of the childhood immunisation schedule for children at 12 months and 15 months of age. 

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