Immunization is one of the most critical directions in public health over the world. Vaccination combats highly contagious, poorly treatable diseases with the severe course and dangerous consequences, often having a lethal outcome. The development and introduction of vaccines has helped to reduce the number of infections and eradicate others. Nowadays, the topic is in top public discussions in all social networks due to the COVID pandemic.
New Zealand is not an exception to the global trends in the development of infectious diseases, but it has its peculiarities. The remoteness of the country from densely populated areas of the globe and its climatic conditions hinders the spread of contagious diseases. At the same time, the flow of tourists and immigrants from around the world (including from epidemic regions) to the country makes it essential to prevent the occurrence and spread of various infections.
In New Zealand, there is no legal requirement to be vaccinated. Whether or not to vaccinate depends on the decision of the parents, or the adult individual. The Government has developed the General Recommendations of Immunization (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention). The Ministry of Health establishes and uses several strategies to maximize vaccination coverage. Information services and portals for the population and health workers have been created, registers recording vaccinations received and the features of the response to the use of the vaccine. The Ministry's website contains detailed information on immunization, recommendations, vaccination schedule. Also, the site includes information on vaccines, indications, and contraindications to the use of vaccines, their safety, requirements for storage and transportation conditions.
Diseases, for the prevention of which vaccines are used, have severe symptoms, high mortality and are quickly spread. Thus, every case of the disease poses a significant threat to the population.
The most dangerous obstacle to vaccination remains the question of the safety of the drugs used. Modern vaccine development involves complex security control processes even before licensing. Then there are numerous systems for monitoring the effects of vaccines, their effectiveness, side effects. Before starting any vaccination programme in New Zealand, they are tested by the Medsafe. Post-vaccination reactions are recorded and analysed in the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring and the National Immunization Register (Health ED, 2018. The Ministry established a national control program for suppliers regulating transport and storage of vaccines and control processes (Ministry of Health, 2017).
All actions lead to the safety of the vaccines used. When deciding on vaccination, parents should consider if the risk of the disease is more severe than the risk of side effects from the medication.
New Zealanders may monitor statistics on COVID vaccination and see all possible complications on the Ministry of Health website. The daily growing number of public participations in the vaccination process and the feedback is impressive.
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