Human papillomaviruses (HPV) are a group of common viruses spread through skin to skin contact. Some are sexually transmitted and can cause causing genital warts, and a range of types of cancer. There are more than 150 types of HPV, at least 14 of these are high-risk types linked to cancer.
HPV vaccine is highly effective in preventing infection with the most common high risk HPV types. The vaccine protects against HPV 6 and 11, which cause genital warts, and seven high-risk types, namely, HPV-16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58, which are associated with oral and genital cancers, including cervical cancer. Since the vaccine became available in New Zealand in 2008, the incidence of genital warts has decreased by 75%.
The best time for HPV immunisation is prior to any sexual activity. The vaccine produces a better immune response in preteens than older teens.
HPV vaccine is recommended and funded for girls and boys aged 9 to 26 years (inclusive). A school-based vaccination programme is available in most areas of New Zealand.
The vaccine is also recommended, but not funded, for women aged up to 45 years to help to prevent reinfection with HPV following colposcopy treatment for cervical abnormalities. It is also recommended, but not funded for males and females aged 27 years or older who have had little exposure to HPV in the past and are now likely to be exposed and men who have sex with men or are HIV-positive.
Rotavirus is a highly contagious virus that infects the intestine causing gastroenteritis (vomiting and diarrhoea) and fever, predominantly in infants and young children.
An oral rotavirus vaccine is available free and recommended for young babies to commence before 15 weeks of age.
The spread of rotavirus can be minimised by thorough hand washing, especially after changing nappies or cleaning up vomit, after using the bathroom, before preparing food and before eating, and by cleaning toys and hard surfaces regularly. The virus may be shed in the stool of an infected child for up to 10 days after the onset of symptoms.
Children with diarrhoea or vomiting should not attend school or childcare centres until diarrhoea or vomiting has stopped for at least 48 hours.
Contact your General Practice to find out more about immunisations available to you and your family.
5 reasons to vaccinate
- Prevention is always better than cure.
- Just like when we put safety gear, helmets, pads, gloves, on our tamariki before they ride their bike/scooter. We hope they never fall off, but if they do, we want them to be as protected as they can be.
- Some disease like whooping cough have no cure or treatment, pēpē can be seriously harmed or die from them
- Reduces time off school and away from activities they love
- Reduces the need for doctor visits and antibiotics. Pneumococcal vaccine for example has reduced ear infections in tamariki by 80% since it was introduced in NZ.
- Weaves a korowai of protection around vulnerable members of our hapū community
- Why does NZ have a different schedule from other countries?
- Each country closely monitors what diseases are affecting their region, then makes a decision about if there are vaccines available, if they are safe and effective, and finally if the vaccine benefit outweighs any potential costs. For example Hepatitis A, this diarrhoea illness is not endemic (local) to NZ and therefore immunising our tamariki against it would be of little benefit. However, in other countries it would be highly beneficial.
- Why aren’t all immunisations on the schedule, like Meningococcal vaccines?
- Sometimes it is an economic decision. We are a small country, vaccines are expensive and the MoH has to make hard decisions on how to spend a limited budget for the best protection of as many people as possible.
- Can I pay for vaccines I want?
- Yes you can, please speak to your GP or nurse and they will advise you of the number of vaccines needed, dates of administration and cost.