Preparing for Immunisations: What to Expect and Tips for Helping Your Baby

Give your baby the best protection by immunising on time, every time.


The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health (MOH) recommend immunising your child. In New Zealand, it’s free to immunise your tamariki with the vaccines in the National Immunisation Schedule, a timeline that starts for your pēpi at six weeks old. Every year, over a million people worldwide die from diseases that can be prevented by vaccines. By immunising your child, they will have the best protection from serious and sometimes fatal diseases.

Make an informed decision regarding your child’s immunisations by visiting the Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) website at or by calling 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863). IMAC provides credible information about the benefits and risks of vaccination and vaccine-preventable diseases.



Your pēpi will be given their immunisations at your family doctor. Book an appointment for when they will be at the right age for their vaccinations. For the best protection, your baby needs to be immunised on time. If you think your child has missed some of their vaccinations, speak to your nurse or GP.

When you go to the appointment, take your Well Child Tamariki Ora My Health Book with you so your baby’s immunisations can be recorded. The doctor or nurse will discuss the vaccines with you, let you know of possible reactions afterwards, and answer any questions you have. Let them know if you have any concerns or worries; they’re here to help and provide you with the facts. After your child has been immunised, you will need to wait in the clinic for 20 minutes.


  • It may be an easier process for you and your baby if you have a support person present. Ask your partner or someone from your whānau to come to the appointment with you.
  • Make your appointment for a time when your baby isn’t due for a nap so they aren’t tired or fussy.
  • It can be helpful to bring an entertaining toy to distract your baby.
  • Know that it’s common for your child to briefly cry after the needle prick. Try talking calmly to them and stroking their arm or back to offer them comfort.
  • If your child becomes upset, try to stay as calm and relaxed as possible for them.
  • Bring a cuddly, soft toy or blanket to comfort your baby during their immunisations.
  • Give your pēpi a feed right after their injections to help console them. You may also breastfeed them beforehand or during, if it is culturally acceptable for you to do so.

If you are concerned about your baby’s reaction to an immunisation, talk to your doctor or nurse or call Healthline for free on 0800 611 116 anytime, day or night.