Information for Consumers

Published: 19 October 2017
Revised:  20 August 2018

Consumer Educational Materials

Where can I find information about vaccines?

Medsafe frequently receives requests for information regarding vaccines approved for use in New Zealand. This information is often already available on various websites. We have collated these sites together here to help make it easier for you to find the information you need.

Which vaccines are widely used in New Zealand?

The most widely used vaccines in New Zealand are the funded vaccines on the immunisation schedule. You can find the current schedule here:

www.health.govt.nz/our-work/preventative-health-wellness/immunisation/new-zealand-immunisation-schedule

Where can I find detailed information about vaccines?

Data sheets provide a summary of the known information about a medicine and are aimed at healthcare professionals. Data sheets also include lists of ingredients. Some companies also provide Consumer Medicine Information (CMI), which is based on the data sheet information. You can find these data sheets and CMIs here:

www.medsafe.govt.nz/Medicines/infoSearch.asp (type in the name of the vaccine or ingredient)

The Ministry of Health also provides information in the immunisation handbook:

www.health.govt.nz/publication/immunisation-handbook-2017

Where are the vaccines used in New Zealand made?

You can find out where vaccines are made by using the Product/Application Search:

http://www.medsafe.govt.nz/regulatory/DBSearch.asp

Use the Product Search and enter the name of the vaccine in the Trade Name box. Click submit and the vaccine should appear in a table, allowing you to access the Medsafe Product Detail. The Medsafe Product Detail includes details of the vaccine manufacturer.

What are the ingredients in vaccines?

You can find more information on the ingredients of vaccines (eg. antigens, excipients, adjuvants and preservatives) here:

www.immune.org.nz/vaccines/vaccine-development/vaccine-components

How can I be sure that a vaccine has acceptable efficacy and safety?

All vaccines on the immunisation schedule are approved for use by Medsafe. Medsafe reviews information on how the vaccine works, how it is made and what side effects it can cause. Medsafe ensures that vaccines have acceptable efficacy, quality and safety for use in New Zealand. You can find more information here:

www.medsafe.govt.nz/Medicines/approval-process.asp

How can Medsafe be sure that a vaccine has acceptable efficacy, quality and safety?

Medsafe checks that the vaccine meets international guidelines. These guidelines are written by experts from around the world. They use the latest scientific evidence to help companies and regulators make sure that vaccines are made correctly. These guidelines also make recommendations for companies on the best ways to test that their vaccines work and are suitably safe. Freely accessible examples of relevant guidelines can be found here:

www.who.int/biologicals/vaccines/en/

The vaccines available in New Zealand are approved around the world. The websites of other medicine regulators provide useful information on the various efficacy, quality and safety aspects that were considered when these vaccines were approved. Medsafe follows the same guidelines as these other regulators when approving vaccines. The European Medicines Agency and the Australian medicines regulator (the Therapeutic Goods Administration) publish public assessment reports that can be found here:

www.ema.europa.eu/ema/index.jsp?curl=pages/medicines/landing/epar_search.jsp&mid=WC0b01ac058001d124

www.tga.gov.au/australian-public-assessment-reports-prescription-medicines-auspars