Immunisation Register Milestone Celebrated
Tuesday 6 November 2007
National Immunisation Register Milestone Celebrated as 100% Immunisation Rates Recorded for First Birth Cohort
Six Southland children born on 7 November 2005 were at the centre of celebrations at Southland District Health Board today, as part of an immunisation milestone which has seen Southland exceed the World Health Organisation’s 95% immunisation target for children turning two years old.
Rachel Simpson, SDHB NIR Coordinator, says that this outcome shows that the NIR is working to ensure all children are up to date with the New Zealand vaccination schedule by enabling medical professionals to accurately track a child’s vaccination history.
“Today marks the NIR’s second anniversary in Southland and the register shows that Southland's first six children to turn 2 years old since its launch are all fully immunised,” Mrs Simpson said.
“This means that these children are protected against ten vaccine preventable diseases and that Southland has exceeded the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Ministry of Health’s target of 95% of 2 year olds being fully immunised.”
Mrs Simpson said local health professionals have long thought that immunisation rates have were high in Southland, but there was no evidence to confirm that.
“Two years since the launch of the NIR, we now have that data with which to measure immunisation uptake amongst Southland children. We're off to a fantastic start with these six children from the NIR birth cohort having completed their first set of childhood vaccinations by age two," she said.
There are now 2,942 Southland children aged 0-23 months registered on the NIR, with 115,592 babies nationally. Authorised users such as Practice Nurses, GPs, Outreach Immunisation Nurses and hospital staff are able to access the information when the child presents for healthcare.
“The NIR is working to assist parents and medical professionals to ensure that all immunisations due are completed and that these children are protected from vaccine preventable disease, such as whooping cough, tetanus, diphtheria and hepatitis,” Mrs Simpson said.
“The live national database has been especially useful for families who have moved cities or visited different doctors, as we can now check the NIR to track where the child is up to in their immunisation schedule and to catch them up as required.”
Dr David Clow, Community Paediatrician at Southland Hospital, said that the 100% immunisation rate reflected the excellent work being done by vaccinators and immunisation coordinators in the Southland community and demonstrated how effective the NIR was as a tool for health professionals.
“The NIR is enabling us to identify children who have not been vaccinated and to ensure that their parents have been given the right information with which to make that decision.
“Good diets and good health do not protect people from infectious diseases. Immunisation is a safe, effective and proven way of protecting children from these diseases.”
“Whilst every parent always has the choice to immunise, I believe that when they have had the full information about the vaccinations we use, they will always choose to immunise their child,” Dr Clow said.
The six children, together with immunisation and paediatric staff at Southland Hospital celebrated the NIR’s second anniversary and 100% immunisation results with a small party for the children and a birthday cake.