When your baby is very young, serious diseases can make them extremely sick and the effects can last for years. These diseases include Whooping Cough, Hepatitis B, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Polio, Rotavirus, Pneumococcal Disease and Hib. Even if baby stays at home, they can still be exposed to diseases brought into the home by friends and whānau.
It is critical to protect your little one from these serious diseases by immunising them on time. Prominent Northland Māori GP, Dr Lance O’Sullivan, highlights how we expose our tamariki to diseases by not immunising.
“We see children with pneumonia, and other serious infections that we know should be non-existent, or at least very rare, in our communities and in our country”, says Dr O’Sullivan (NZ Herald, 15 April).
Delaying or missing an immunisation can put your child’s health at risk when they need protection most. Make sure your baby is enrolled with a GP as soon as they are born.
There are five immunisation visits for children up to age 5 years; the first is at 6 weeks, then at 3 months, 5 months, 15 months and 4 years. Mums can even protect their baby before they are born, and for their first few weeks of life, by getting immunised against influenza and whooping cough while they are pregnant.
To make immunisation more comfortable for baby, you can feed before, during and after immunisation. You may want to take a whānau member for support. Another good tip is to bring a favourite toy or book along as a distraction for older babies.
Book your child’s free immunisation with your doctor or nurse today.
- If you would like more information, visit www.health.govt.nz/immuniseontime or call 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863).