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Health Minister Jonathan Coleman has welcomed the release of the 2017 edition of the Immunisation Handbook, which informs health professionals of the safest and most effective use of vaccines.

“The Immunisation Handbook is an important resource for health professionals, setting out the latest best practice advice about vaccines and the diseases they protect against,” says Dr Coleman.

“The Handbook ensures they have the information readily available to safely and confidently deliver immunisation services to the people they care for.

“New Zealanders can be assured that our health professionals have access to the best up to date evidence to support the safe administration of vaccines.

“92 per cent of eight month olds have received their primary course of immunisations thanks to the increased immunisation target which remains one of our six national health targets.

“The Handbook was written and reviewed by a team of experts in child health, infectious disease and immunology. I would like to thank them for their time and skill in compiling this important resource.”

The release of this edition is timed to inform health professionals of vaccine changes that come into effect from 1 July. Free chickenpox (varicella) vaccination for children at age 15 months will be added to the Schedule, and some vaccine brands will change.

Chickenpox immunisation will reduce children’s chances of catching chickenpox and protect them from the most severe effects of the disease. 

One dose of the vaccine is free at age 15 months. From 1 July it will also be free for 11 year olds who have never been infected with chickenpox or immunised against it.

The Immunisation Handbook 2017 is available here.

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