Free meningococcal B immunisation

On 1 March 2023, the meningococcal B vaccine was added to the National Immunisation Schedule. It is free for babies at 3 months, 5 months, and 12 months.

Many tamariki under 5 would not have had their 3 doses, so a free catch-up programme is available until 31 August 2025 for tamariki under 5 years old.

Talk to your doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider about immunisation.

Immunisations on the schedule are free for babies and toddlers

In Aotearoa New Zealand, we have a National Immunisation Schedule. This lists the vaccines offered to babies, tamariki, and adults and the best time to get immunised.

All vaccinations on the National Immunisation Schedule are free for children under 18. It does not matter what their visa or citizenship status is. This includes visitors to Aotearoa New Zealand.

Extra vaccines not on the schedule may also be recommended if you or your child is considered high-risk, or if you are travelling overseas. Some of these vaccines you may need to pay for.

Video: Ngataiwhakaki's 6 week immunisations

Getting ready for your baby’s first immunisations

Your baby’s first immunisations are due at 6 weeks. Make it easy and enroll them with a doctor early.

If you need help with enrolment, your midwife, the hospital, or your Well Child Tamariki Ora nurse can help you enroll your child with a doctor, or to access immunisations through another healthcare provider.

If you cannot find a doctor to enroll your child, call:

They can help connect you with a local immunisation service.

What ages immunisations are due

Immunisations are due at 6 weeks, 3 months, 5 months, 12 months, and 15 months. Their next scheduled immunisation is when they turn 4 years old.

Usually, more than 1 vaccine is given during each appointment. These vaccines have been tested for safety and effectiveness when given at the same time.

National Immunisation Schedule (internal link)

Get a personalised immunisation schedule

Based on the National Immunisation Schedule, this handy tool shows what immunisations your child needs from 6 weeks to 13 years, and the dates due. It does not look at your child's medical records, so your child may have had some vaccines already.

Use this as a general guide, and be aware that dates may vary depending on previous vaccination dates, or other clinical circumstances. Always consult your usual doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider about your child's vaccinations.

Video: Why getting your whānau immunised is so important

If an immunisation has been missed

If a scheduled immunisation has been missed, you can catch up.

Although getting immunised on time is recommended for the best protection, it is easy to catch up.

Catch-up immunisations are free for all tamariki under 18 years old. Lots of catch-up adult immunisations are also free.

Contact your doctor, nurse, or healthcare provider and make a plan.

Booking an immunisation (internal link)

Premature babies

Premature and low birthweight babies should receive their immunisations starting at 6 weeks old — regardless of how premature they were.

If your baby is in hospital when their immunisations are due, they will be vaccinated by the hospital team.

Do not delay vaccinations as your pēpi is at higher risk from disease, so immunising on time is really important.

It may be recommended by your doctor that your pēpi has some additional vaccines including:

  • an extra pneumococcal dose if they were born before 28 weeks
  • annual free flu vaccination from 6 months old
  • COVID-19 immunisation from 6 months old.

Extra vaccines not on the schedule for babies and toddlers

If your baby has an ongoing medical condition, ask your doctor, nurse or vaccinator what extra free immunisations they may need.

If they are not eligible for extra free immunisations, they may still be able to get immunised. Talk to your doctor or nurse about whether protection is a good idea for your tamariki and what it would cost.

Additional vaccinations may also be recommended if you are travelling overseas. There is a cost for these.

Extra immunisations for tamariki and whānau (internal link)

Why some vaccines are on the schedule more than once

To be fully protected your tamariki sometimes need more than 1 dose of a vaccine.

When they are first vaccinated, their body learns how to fight off a particular bacteria or virus. Their second (and sometimes third or fourth) dose boosts their immune system so they will have stronger, and longer-lasting, protection.

Different vaccines protect for different lengths of time. Your child will sometimes need a booster vaccination to strengthen their immunity.

Some vaccines protect against more than 1 disease

Some vaccines provide protection against more than 1 disease in a single vaccine. For example, the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is just 1 injection. This means fewer vaccination appointments and fewer injections.

It is not always possible to have a different vaccine if you want protection against only one of the diseases. Your immune system is used to dealing with thousands of viruses and bacteria every day — there are no safety concerns with having multiple vaccines at the same time.