07 881 9102 [email protected]

Vaccine FAQs

Keeping up with the NZ Immunisation Schedule at all ages is very important for your health and the health of your whānau and community.  Currently Aotearoa New Zealand is not reaching our vaccination targets for children at any age.  At least 95% of children up to date at 2 years old is a key goal; nationally we are at 83% and the Waikato is at 76%.  This is priming our country for outbreaks of diseases like measles and whooping cough.  Reaching high levels of vaccination is essential to prevent these potentially deadly events.

We often receive lots of enquiries about vaccination.  Our team have put together these answers to common questions we hear about vaccination.


What has changed with Meningitis B vaccination?

Meningitis B vaccine, also known as MenB or Bexsero, prevents N. meningitidis B bacteria from causing meningitis and encephalitis.  Meningitis is infection and inflammation of the membranes around the brain while encephalitis is inflammation of the brain itself.  This infection often leads to seizures, brain damage, hearing loss, limb loss, and death.  From 1st March 2023 this vaccine has been added to the New Zealand Immunisation Schedule for all infants under 12 months.  All tamariki (children) under 5 years can have this vaccination as a free catch up until 31/08/2025.  Rangatahi (young people) aged 13-25yrs who are entering into or in their first year of close-living situations eg. boarding schools, halls of residence can also have MenB vaccination until 28/02/2024.  This vaccine is available for children who do not meet these criteria, but with an out of pocket cost.

How can I protect my tamariki from meningitis and encephalitis?

The best way to prevent meningitis is to complete the New Zealand Immunisation Schedule on time.  This schedule protects tamariki and rangatahi against multiple bacteria and viruses that cause meningitis and encephalitis.  The addition of Meningitis B vaccine to the schedule will make it even more effective.

Why has whooping cough been in the news and what should I do about it?

Pertussis or ‘Whooping cough’ is a highly contagious respiratory disease that is difficult to diagnose and treat.   It is, however, preventable with vaccination.  Unvaccinated infants and children are most vulnerable and sadly, three infants have died in New Zealand from whooping cough this year.  Infants that do not receive vaccinations on time are five times more likely to be hospitalised with pertussis than those vaccinated on time.  Getting childhood vaccines on time is the best protection!  Pregnant women can have vaccination from 16 weeks which will pass protection to their infant until it can be vaccinated at 6 weeks old.

Pertussis immunity wanes over time which means rangatahi and adults are a potential source of infection for infants.  Rangatahi who are 11 years or older, adults who are 45years and have not had at least 4 tetanus vaccines as a child, and adults 65 and older are all eligible for Pertussis boosters.   If you are unsure of your vaccination status, contact the medical centre you are registered at.

Should I get the shingles vaccine?

The shingles vaccine (Shingrix) is currently recommended for patients who are over 50 years old and funded for patients as a two vaccine series during the year that they are 65.  The vaccine is effective at preventing shingles and preventing pain after shingles (post herpetic neuralgia), but the effectiveness decreases with time.  The chance of post herpetic neuralgia increases significantly with age.  This means that patients who get the vaccine early are less likely to get benefit and it is likely to wear off before they reach an age where they will benefit.  Age 65 is estimated to be a “sweet spot” where the benefit is maximised and that is why it is funded at that age.  Patients can get the singles vaccine before or after 65, the cost for patients who elect to do this is $640 for the two-dose vaccine series.

What vaccines are recommended for overseas travel and how can I get them? 

If you are in need of travel vaccines, please contact MMC as soon as you know your travel itinerary and request a Travel Consultation.  This is different from a normal consultation.  Doctors Will Varty and Eldon Pitchford have a special interest in travel medicine and will discuss travel vaccinations, medicines, and other important travel information.

Where can I get a Covid vaccine?

MMC is currently not providing Covid vaccination.  You can use https://bookmyvaccine.health.nz/ to find locations close to you and find out more information about eligibility.

How can I contact Matamata Medical Centre about vaccines?

The best way to contact Matamata Medical Centre regarding vaccine information is via email.  Send your email to [email protected]  and put ‘Vaccine Info Required’ in the Subject field.  Include your full name, date of birth, and NHI number if you know it.  Write a brief message on what you would like to know.  If you are enquiring on behalf of direct family dependents please include their full details. Your email will be forwarded to the nursing team who will usually respond within one business day.  If email is not an option, please ring us on 07 881 9102. Press 2 for the nurses station or hold on for reception who will add you to our call back list so a nurse can contact you.