Don’t take risks with your child – immunise
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.