Don’t take risks with your child – im­mu­nise

Central Leader - - NEWS -

Be on time, ev­ery time with in­fant im­mu­ni­sa­tions, coun­sels Star­ship Chil­dren Health’s com­mu­nity pae­di­a­tri­cian Dr Ali­son Lev­er­sha.

De­lay­ing your child’s vac­ci­na­tion is risky, she says.

‘‘Most ba­bies ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal with se­vere com­pli­ca­tions of vac­cine pre­ventable dis­eases, have not had their vac­cines on time,’’ Lev­er­sha says.

About 97 per cent of six-week-olds liv­ing in the Auck­land Dis­trict Health Board area have re­ceived their first round of im­mu­ni­sa­tions but 33 ba­bies in the re­gion are over­due.

There are also another 45 chil­dren un­der six months who are over­due for their sec­ond dose for long-term pro­tec­tion.

Ba­bies should re­ceive sched­uled im­mu­ni­sa­tions at the ages of 6 weeks, 3 months and 5 months to vac­ci­nate against se­ri­ous dis­eases, in­clud­ing ro­tavirus, diph­the­ria, whoop­ing cough and hep­ati­tis B.

Ro­tavirus was added to the sched­ule in July.

It is a highly con­ta­gious virus caus­ing bowel in­fec­tion, fever, vom­it­ing, di­ar­rhoea and, in se­vere cases, hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion.

The virus hos­pi­talises one in 52 chil­dren by 3 years of age and one in 43 by 5 years.

Vac­ci­na­tion is the most ef­fec­tive means to pro­tect your child and the wider com­mu­nity, Lev­er­sha says.

‘‘Ro­tavirus is a very dis­tress­ing con­di­tion for the child and par­ents and one that can eas­ily be pre­vented,’’ she says.

‘‘Aside from the ben­e­fit of pro­tect­ing your own child, vac­ci­na­tion pro­tects the wider com­mu­nity in­clud­ing a small but vul­ner­a­ble group of chil­dren with com­pro­mised im­mune sys­tems who can­not be im­mu­nised.’’

Na­tional im­mu­ni­sa­tion sched­ule vac­ci­na­tions are free.

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