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Communications: A web page has been established on the Ministry’s website at https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/novel-coronavirus-china-2019-ncov please direct the public a information. It continues to be updated as we receive new information.
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Zostavax catch-up programme extended to 31 December 2020
The latest Pharmaceutical Schedule (page 8) advises that the Zostavax catch-up programme, for people aged 66-80 years on 1 April 2018, is extended to 31 December 2020.
UPDATED priorities for use of MMR vaccine stock are now:
- Priority groups
- We would also like to take this opportunity to reiterate the current priority groups for vaccination are:
- • ensure all children receive their vaccinations on time at 15 months (12 months in Auckland) and four years to maintain the national Childhood Immunisation Schedule
- • susceptible close contacts within 72 hours of first exposure to measles when possible
- • babies aged six months to 11 months who live in Auckland or who are travelling to Auckland or overseas to a country that has an active outbreak of measles
- • children and adolescents aged 15 and under who have not had a single dose of MMR
- • in accordance with the National Immunisation Schedule, all children under five who have not received either dose of MMR should be actively recalled. We consider active recall of this group to be in line with the priority groups
- • un-immunised eligible people under the age of 50 travelling from New Zealand to Samoa, Tonga, Philippines and Fiji.
National Advisory from the Ministry of Health
Public health measures being implemented by some Pacific Island Countries
American Samoa, Republic of Marshall Islands, Tokelau and Solomon Islands are requiring travellers to show evidence of measles vaccination at least 2 weeks before entry to these countries. Other Pacific countries such as Samoa and Fiji have not formally implemented travel measures, however it is recommended travellers to these counties are vaccinated against measles.
Primary care providers should ensure any travellers to Pacific Island countries requiring proof of vaccination, or any other countries where there are current measles outbreaks are vaccinated at least 14 days prior to their arrival and proof of vaccination issued. Proof of vaccination may include medical records, laboratory tests, immunisation record summary, or letters from GPs or vaccinators.
In addition to advice previously issued regarding eligibility for vaccination, unvaccinated New Zealanders over the age of 50 can be given MMR if vaccination is required for proof of entry, or is necessary for protection in countries currently experiencing measles outbreaks. It is expected the vaccinator will use clinical discretion and judgement when making decisions about prioritising and eligibility for vaccination.
Immunisation for older adults
Older people also need immunisation. This section describes the free immunisations available for people at age 65 and older. These immunisations protect against shingles, influenza, tetanus and diphtheria.
At age 65, immunisation against influenza, shingles, tetanus and diphtheria is recommended by the Ministry of Health. These vaccines are free (practices may charge a small fee to administer tetanus and diphtheria vaccine). Talk to your doctor or practice nurse to find out how to protect yourself.
As you get older, the protection you received from some of your earlier immunisations begins to wear off. Your immune system may no longer work as well and you are at increased risk from some infectious diseases. Free immunisation is offered at age 65 onwards to protect you against some serious diseases.
Shingles vaccine is free at age 65. Until 31 March 2020, anyone aged 66 to 80 inclusive is also eligible for a free shingles vaccine.
Shingles (or herpes zoster) is a painful rash affecting a particular nerve. It‘s a long-term effect of chickenpox that can occur many years after a person has recovered from the initial disease. It can affect anyone who has previously had chickenpox, and is more common in older people. Shingles usually lasts 10 to 15 days but can cause scarring and loss of vision if it affects the eyes. One of the most serious complications, particularly among older people, is nerve pain that lasts long after the rash has disappeared.
Influenza (or the flu) is a serious illness that can be fatal. Influenza may lead to a stay in hospital at any age but particularly if you are older or have an underlying medical condition. Influenza kills around 400 New Zealanders every year.
Influenza vaccine is free and recommended every year from age 65 onwards. The vaccine is changed each year to make sure it protects against the most common strains of the virus. You can get the vaccine free at your doctors and some pharmacies from late autumn each year.
Flu vaccines will be available early April with Flu clinics to be held Mid May. Dates to be advised.