There are several vaccines available that are not part of the National Immunisation Schedule but are available for purchase by parents. Varicella (chicken-pox) and rotavirus vaccines are not presently funded, but are used in many other countries.
Meningococcal C vaccine, which is used in many other Western countries as part of their immunisation schedule is available for purchase in NZ. (please contact the surgery for price info)
Varicella zoster virus (human herpes virus type 3), otherwise known as chickenpox, affects an estimated 90% of children in NZ. It has a peak incidence between age five to nine years, although with more children attending pre-school and day care facilities, peak incidence may be occurring at a younger age. It is highly infectious and is transmitted to 85% of those who have had close contact with an infected person.
The symptoms are fever, general unwellness, cough, headache, full body rash lasting one to two weeks. The disease is usually mild but it can cause serious illness such as cerebellitis, aseptic meningitis and pneumonia. It is more severe for adolescents, adults and those who are immunosuppressed. Contact during pregnancy is associated with risk to the developing foetus with up to 2% having congenital varicella syndrome. This can cause blindness, malformations, mental retardation or foetal death.
Reasons to consider varicella vaccination include the potential risk of serious complications and the risks to others such as pregnant women. If you are planning to return to work this could be considered as if your child is sick you may need to take up to three weeks off work.
Varicalla vaccination is administered from nine months to thirteen years. It can be given at the same time as other vaccines. After 14 years two doses are required. (please contact the surgery for price info)
Rotavirus infections are the most common cause of diarrhoea in all children under the age of two years. All children are most likely infected by the age of three years. Symptoms include watery diarrhoea, fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, lasting for up to eight days. Significant dehydration occur in 1-2% of all children affected.
Children do not become immune after infection with rotavirus but subsequent infections are usually less severe. Most adults infected with rotavirus do not get any symptoms.
Rotarix and RotaTeq are oral rotavirus vaccines currently available in New Zealand. The first dose is given between 6 and 14 weeks and the second dose is given around four weeks later but before 24 weeks. The vaccine is administered orally. It can be administered with other vaccines.
Rotavirus vaccine does not protect against other types of gastroenteritis or diarrhoea.
Zostavax is a new vaccine to prevent Shingles. (please contact the surgery for price info)