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July 12, 2017

As of the 1st of July, a number of changes to the New Zealand Immunisation Schedule have come into effect, with the addition of a funded varicella vaccine at 15 months, changes to the dosing schedule of the oral rotavirus vaccine, and some brand changes to other existing vaccines.


The addition of a varicella (chicken pox) as a funded vaccine is the most noticeable change to the infant schedule. All children born on or after the 1st of April 2016 are eligible to have one dose of funded Varilrix at their 15 months vaccinations. One dose of the vaccine will provide good protection (70-90% protection of all chickenpox, and 95% protection against severe cases), while two doses provides optimal protection. Two doses, given at least 6 weeks apart, will provide children with 97-99% protection against all chickenpox, and 100% protection against severe chickenpox. For parents wanting their child to have two doses, one dose can be purchased and given from 9 months of age.

For children turning 11 after the 1st of July 2017, who have never been immunised or infected with chickenpox, a one-dose catch up vaccine is available at this age. More details about the varicella vaccine are available at


The other noticeable change is the oral rotavirus vaccine will be changing brands and moving to a two-dose regime given at the 6 week and 3 month events.

Other vaccines already on the schedule will be undergoing brand changes. For a full summary of the immunisation schedule, please visit the Immunisation Advisory Centre website -


Changes were made to the HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine schedule in January 2017, widening the eligibility criteria for females and now including males, who were previously excluded. The vaccine is now funded for any eligible patients under the age of 27 years. There are now more serotypes of the virus covered within the vaccine, with a move from a four strain to a nine strain vaccine. The HPV vaccine has been widely used overseas with exceptional clinical results in the reduction of associated cancers. For more info please see the IMAC website

The number of doses you require will depend on the age you start the vaccines – as younger bodies respond better to the vaccine, it is recommended to finish the two-dose course before your 15th birthday. The two doses are given 6 months apart, and you will not require further doses. The vaccine is currently being offered as part of the school based vaccination programme in Year 8, however we are able to offer it to patients at Medplus for those who choose, or for older eligible patients. For those who turn fifteen before their second dose of HPV9, three doses of the vaccine are given; the second dose is given two months after the initial dose, and the third dose is given four months after that.