Changes to the immunisation schedule in the past 10 years

OIA response

2 November 2021 

Dear [name and contact details withheld] 

Request for information 

Thank you for your request dated 11 October 2021 under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA) for information relating to the immunisation schedule. Your request was partially transferred by the Ministry of Health to Pharmac. You requested: 

 ….the current New Zealand vaccination schedule what changes have been made in the last 24 months and the official reasons for these changes? link)

If any of these vaccines had a brand / provider change in the past 24 months – please provide the reason why this occurred and link to review.  

Vaccines like Hib is stated that it has almost disappeared since vaccine on your site. Will this vaccine be removed from the schedule once the virus has been eliminated?  

What vaccines in the past 10 years of New Zealand’s history have been removed due to the disease being eliminated?” 

Please find our response to your above questions detailed below. 

Additionally, information about Pharmac’s role in funding vaccines can be found on our website: > Medicine funding and supply > What you need to know about medicines > Vaccines: Pharmac’s role 

Changes to the immunisation schedule in the past 24 months

Since October 2019 the following changes to been made to the National Immunisation Schedule:

  • Meningococcal (Groups A, C, Y And W-135) – eligibility expanded from 1 December 2019 to include those entering close living situations, and between 1 December 2019 and 30 November 2021 to those living in close living situations. Reason – funding application.
  • Meningococcal B – listed from 1 July 2021 for close contacts and high risk immunocompromised. Reason – funding application.
  • Zoster vaccine – eligibility for catch up vaccination programme extended from 31 December 2020 to 31 December 2021. Reason – lower than expected take-up in 2020.
  • Influvac Tetra (paediatric quadrivalent vaccine) – listed from 9 April 2021 for children aged 3 and 4 years of age (inclusive) subject to eligibility criteria. Reason – Medsafe approved the Afluria Quad season strain updates for use in people five years of age and older, rather than three years and older as expected. To provide coverage for the whole age range from six months upwards, Pharmac negotiated to list Influvac Tetra (Mylan). 

Vaccine brand changes in the past 24 months

Since October 2019 the following vaccines have had a brand / provider change:

  • Diphtheria and Tetanus Vaccine (ADT Booster) – delisted, replaced by the Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis Vaccine (Boostrix)
  • Hepatitis B Peadiatric – the HBVaxPro brand replaced by the Engerix-B brand following a discontinuation by the supplier.
  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella – The MMRII brand was temporarily supplied in addition to the Priorox brand to ensure supply during an outbreak of measles.
  • Varicella-zoster (chicken pox) – brand switch from Varilrix to Varivax following an RFP process.
  • Influenza Vaccine – The following funded brands were supplied:
    • 2020 season: Afluria Quad; Afluria Quad Junior; Influvac Tetra
    • 2021 season: Afluria Quad; Afluria Quad Junior; Influvac Tetra; Fluad Quad. 

Haemophilus influenzae type B vaccine

Pharmac has no plans to delist the haemophilus vaccine from the National Immunisation Schedule. 

Vaccines removed from the immunisation schedule in the past 10 years due to disease elimination/eradication

Since 2011 no vaccines have been removed from the National Immunisation Schedule due to disease elimination. 

We trust that this information answers your queries. We are making our information more freely available, so we now publish selected OIA responses (excluding personal details) on our website. Please get in touch with us if you have any questions about this. 

Yours sincerely 

Rachel Read
Manager, Policy and Government Services