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'Love Them, Protect Them, Immunise Them'

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For immediate release

Date: 22 October, 2008

'Love Them, Protect Them, Immunise Them'

That is the catch phrase of Waikato District Health Board's newest addition to it's long list of community-based services.

Waikato DHB's Population Health Service is taking child immunisations one step further into the community with the launch of a Mobile Immunisation Service.

The new service was launched today at Lollipops Play Land by Ministry of Health chief advisor: Child and Youth Health, Dr Pat Tuohy.

The Mobile Immunisation Service was established to enable Waikato DHB to reach its 95 per cent coverage rate for immunisations by 2012.

It works as a 'hub and spoke' model that aligns the National Immunisation Register to a dedicated, centrally based mobile immunisation team.

"Waikato DHB has got a reputation for its innovations in healthcare, and I congratulate you on your foresight in establishing this service," said Dr Tuohy at the launch.

"A target rate of 95 per cent for immunisations is not easy and to be able to do that you need to do a whole lot of things differently, including opportunistic immunisations and outreach services."

Heading the mobile service is Population Health Service unit manager: National Immunisation Register, Southern Health Promotion and Mobile Immunisation Service, Andrina Romano.

"The beauty of a mobile immunisation service is that the vehicles [a fully-equipped van and car] can go just about anywhere immunisations are needed," said Miss Romano.

Two teams of one experienced community vaccinator and one community support worker staff the service.

Miss Romano said the unique service, which is currently funded until June 2010, would be available to children under the age of six, but would predominantly focus on children aged two years and under.

There are currently at least 96 referrals on file with the National Immunisation Register team, awaiting an immunisation appointment by the service.

One of Waikato DHB's 10 main health priorities is reducing barriers to access - a quality the Mobile Immunisation Service depicts completely, said Miss Romano.

"It is really important that we do not neglect those parents and their children who for whatever reason cannot access vaccination due to access or locality."

Children from MidCity Childcare Centre also took part in the celebrations.


ENDS

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