The Marlborough PHO supports Marlborough Practices to improve health outcomes of their population by supporting immunisation and therefore reducing the impact of vaccine preventable diseases.
We provide assistance to General Practice staff with immunisation queries, referrals to the outreach service and updates on the immunisation coverage of the childhood populations of each Practice.


What is Immunisation

Immunisation is one of the best ways to protect your child against many serious diseases. It works by using a vaccine to stimulate your baby’s immune system.

When a germ like a virus or bacteria enters the body for the first time, the immune system takes time to produce special antibodies to fight that particular germ. During that time, a person may become unwell.

As the protective cells and antibodies are made, they destroy the germs and the person recovers. The immune system remembers the germ, for years or for life. The next time we come across the same germ, the body will be able to remember the infection and mount a much faster response and fight off the germ before the person become unwell.

Immunisation works in a similar way. A vaccine contains a dead or weakened form of the germ that cannot cause the disease, but is enough to make the immune system produce antibodies to fight it. When a person is vaccinated their immune system makes protective cells and antibodies in response to the vaccine. This allows the immune system to recognise the germ, which will protect them from the real disease if they come into contact with it in the future.

You can find out more about immunisation at the University of Auckland Immunisation Advisory Centre website

Why Do We Need Immunisation

Babies are born with some natural immunity to certain infections because antibodies are passed on to them from their mother before birth. Breast-fed babies get additional antibodies from their mother’s milk. However, this immunity does not last long. Babies and children need immunisation to provide ongoing protection from many life-threatening diseases.

Over 14 million people around the world die every year from diseases that can be prevented by immunisation. Most of these diseases have become rare in New Zealand thanks to immunisation programmes. Some diseases, such as whooping cough and pneumococcal disease are still common.

Many of the diseases that are now rare in New Zealand still exist in other countries and are brought into the county by travelers from time to time, for example, measles. Some diseases will always be present, such as tetanus, which is caused by bacteria that lives in the soil.

For more information on the vaccine preventable diseases go to:

Is Immunisation Safe

Yes. Immunisation is one of the most researched areas of medicine and the most valuable health care measure that has ever been developed. Over the years immunisation has controlled and stopped many of the diseases that cause illness or death in children. To develop good immune protection against a range of serious diseases it is important to have vaccinations on time and to complete the series – including boosters.

All vaccines approved for use in New Zealand have a good safety record and have ongoing safety monitoring. For more information on vaccine safety go to

The World Health Organisation and the New Zealand Ministry of Health recommend that you immunise your children. Immunisation is your choice – please talk to your family doctor or nurse if you have any questions.

When Should Immunisations Be Given

The National Immunisation Schedule is the timetable of recommended vaccines. It is designed to provide the best protection for our children when they are most at risk. Starting at 6 weeks of age, children can be protected from the potentially dangerous diseases that they may encounter. This allows your baby to start developing protection as soon as possible, when the natural immunity from their mother begins to wear off. Babies and children can catch diseases at any time so it is important babies and children are immunised on time, every time for the best possible protection.

The Immunisation Schedule recommends childhood immunisation at the following ages: 6 weeks, 3 months, 5 months, 15 months, 4 years, 11 years and 12 years.

Some children will need extra vaccines, such as the influenza immunisation, if they have certain long-term health conditions. Talk to your family doctor or nurse to find out if you or your child needs extra immunisations.

If you think your child – or anyone in your family – may not have had all the immunisations or if you’re not sure, talk to your family doctor or nurse. They will be able to tell you which immunisations you and your family should have.

For more information on the National Immunisation Schedule go to:

Adult and Pregnancy Immunisations

The National Immunisation Schedule recommends:

  • An Influenza vaccine and a Whooping Cough vaccine in every pregnancy (FREE of charge)
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines for all males and females aged 9 years to under 27 years (FREE of charge – Non-residents must be aged under 18 years to receive free vaccines)
  • A Diphtheria/Tetanus vaccine at 45 years and 65 years of age (a small charge applies)
  • The Influenza vaccine annually for all adults from 65 years of age (FREE of charge)
  • From 1 April 2018, one dose of Shingles vaccine (Zostavax) is funded for adults aged 65 years. A ‘catch-up’ programme will be available for the first two years, for people aged from 66–80 years inclusively. Funded vaccine doses will only be available through general practice.

    (Zostavax is also available for individuals aged 50–64 years or 81 years or older to purchase through general practice and some pharmacies)

Some adults and children will need extra vaccines if they have certain long-term health conditions. Talk to your family doctor or nurse to find out if you need extra immunisations.

If you think you or your child – or anyone in your family – may not have had all the immunisations or if you’re not sure, talk to your family doctor or nurse. They will be able to tell you which immunisations you and your family should have.

For more information on the schedule go to:

Influenza Immunisation

Influenza vaccine is especially important, and FREE, for people at risk of serious complications from influenza including:

  • Pregnant Women (at any stage of pregnancy)
  • Adults aged 65 years and over
  • Children aged 6 months to under 5 years who have been hospitalised for respiratory illness or have a history of significant respiratory illness
  • Anyone aged 6 months to under 65 years with a number of medical conditions. For a full list of eligible medical conditions go to:

Almost everyone however can benefit from the protection of annual Influenza immunisation and can be obtained at a small charge from your General Practice, or from a number of local community Pharmacies.

Access to Vaccines

All children aged under 18 years living in New Zealand, regardless of the resident status of the child or their parents, are entitled to FREE National Immunisation Schedule vaccines.

All National Immunisation Schedule vaccines and additional vaccines are available from your General Practice – charges may apply for some vaccines – please check with you Doctor or Practice Nurse.

General Practice Nurses and Pharmacist Vaccinators undertake post graduate training in vaccination and update every two years. They are available to answer any queries parents may have.

You can also contact the local Immunisation Facilitator Sally Gilmour on 520-6200 or 021 284 7207.

For further information on vaccinations phone the Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) on 0800 466 863 or visit or

Measles – What You Need To Know

From 1 January 2019 to 9 September 2019 there have been 1131 confirmed cases of measles notified across New Zealand. 944 of these confirmed cases are in the Auckland region.

Please go to the following Ministry Of Health website for the latest information

Frequent MMR Questions The Immunisation Centre
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National Whooping Cough Outbreak

What is Immunisation

There has been a significant increase in the number of pertussis (whooping cough) cases reported, compared to the same period in 2016. Pertussis epidemics occur regularly every three to five years, so we expect this to be the early stages of an epidemic and rates are likely to continue to increase. Young babies are at highest risk of severe disease and the main focus is on protecting them.

For more information on the outbreak visit The Immunisation Advisory Centre website  

For more information on Pertussis (Whooping cough) please visit or

Also another section titled ‘Pharmac decision to fund Shingles vaccine’ with this text and link:

PHARMAC will add the shingles vaccine (Zostavax®) to the National Immunisation Schedule from 1 April 2018.

  • One dose of Zostavax will be funded for adults aged 65 years. 
  • A ‘catch-up’ programme will be available for the first two years, for people aged from 66–80 years inclusively.
  • Funded vaccine doses will only be available through general practice. 
  • Zostavax is available for purchase by ineligible adults through general practice and some pharmacies.

For more information visit The Immunisation Advisory Centre website

National Immunisation Register

The National Immunisation Register (NIR) is a computerized information system developed to hold immunisation details of New Zealand children.

Why Do We Need A NIR?

Children visit many different health care professionals such as General Practitioners, Plunket nurses, hospital specialists, Maori or Pacific providers. The NIR enables authorised health professionals to quickly and easily find out what vaccines a child has been given and is the best way to make sure immunisations are given at the appropriate time.
The NIR will enable New Zealand to improve its immunisation rates, which at present lag behind other OECD countries.

What Information Is Held On The NIR?

The NIR holds: personal information such as name, date of birth, gender, unique health number (National Health Index) and ethnicity details of a child; parent/caregiver details and contact information; nominated health professionals (general practitioner, midwife and Wellchild provider) and immunisations given. It can also record if a parent chooses not to immunise their child for a particular vaccine, or if there are medical reasons not to do so. This information is collected and updated regularly by authorised healthcare providers.

Immunisation Outreach Service

Baby photo

An Immunisation Outreach Service is available to all children in Marlborough. This service helps improve immunisation coverage in the community by following up referrals from General Practice for children who have missed vaccinations, and works with these children and their families to help access vaccination.

The Outreach Nurse works in the community visiting families at home, liaising with their General Practice and with other community based health professionals. The Nurse can be contacted to answer questions and concerns regarding immunisation and to provide support if needed to help them make decisions about their children’s vaccinations and if necessary support when visiting their family doctor for vaccination appointments. Contact 0800 672 642.

Changes to the Immunisation Schedule from 2017

PHARMAC have announced changes to the New Zealand National Immunisation Schedule that take effect in 2017.


Immunise – it’s one less worry

Immunise your child with confidence

HPV Immunisation – Now free for boys and young men

Chickenpox – Disease and Vaccine Information

Application forms for Vaccinator Authorisation:

New AV Application September 2018

Please ensure authorised vaccinator renewals are submitted at least one month prior to expiry of your current authorisation.  The failure to do so, will require a clinical assessment with your Local Immunisation Coordinator when authorisation has expired.

New applicants need to allow sufficient time for new vaccinator authorisations to be processed if expecting to begin vaccinating by a particular timeframe.

Application NEW AV September 2018
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Renew AV Application September 2018

Applicantion RENEW AV September 2018
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Approval for Local Vaccination Application

Application LOCAL VACC PROG September 2018
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Vaccination Application FAQs

Vaccinator Application FAQS
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Immunisation Newsletters:



Registered Nurse
Immunisation Facilitator / Programme Coordinator for Child & Youth Health:
Angie Mills