11 April 2020

NSW Health is reminding parents and carers that the best way to protect their child from serious preventable diseases is to vaccinate them on-time according to the National Immunisation Program Schedule.

Professor Kristine Macartney, Director of the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS), said each dose of every vaccine given to babies and children is carefully chosen to provide them with the earliest protection.

“It’s really important that we ensure protection on-time against the most serious diseases,” Prof Macartney said.

“On-time vaccinations can also help protect those more vulnerable people in the community. Although there is not yet a vaccine for COVID-19, there are vaccines to prevent other diseases that are prevalent in our community such as whooping cough, measles, influenza and meningitis.”

“It’s ok to leave your house to get vaccinated, unless you or your child have been directed to self-isolate.”

“If a child has a runny nose or slight cold, they can still get vaccinated. Delaying vaccinations can leave children exposed to serious illnesses at a time when they’re most vulnerable.”

For pregnant women, Prof Macartney said vaccination protects both mother and baby from severe influenza and Whooping Cough. “The beauty of vaccination during pregnancy is that the antibodies produced by the mother cross the placenta and get into the baby’s circulation, so that the baby already has a level of protection until it’s old enough to be able to be vaccinated.”

All children aged 6 months to less than 5 years are also recommended to have their free annual influenza vaccination, which is available from mid-April.

“I encourage all parents and carers to download the free Save the Date to Vaccinate app, which gives timely reminders of childhood vaccinations,” Prof Macartney said.

To make an appointment for your child to be vaccinated people should contact their GP, Aboriginal Medical Service or other immunisation provider. It is important to call ahead of your appointment to discuss what changes your clinic or GP has made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On-time vaccination and overall participation in childhood immunisation programs continues to improve in NSW, with 94.7 per cent of children fully vaccinated by five years of age in the past 12 months compared with 90.8 per cent in 2012.

Protecting children from potentially deadly diseases is a key priority for the NSW Government, which has invested approximately $130 million in the 2019-20 Immunisation Program budget, including Commonwealth and state vaccines.

For more information, visit: health.nsw.gov.au/vaccinate​​​