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Protect our most valuable taonga – immunise at 6 weeks

Media release
Protect our most valuable taonga – immunise at 6 weeks

Whooping cough in the Bay of Plenty and across the country has prompted a push to vaccinate more babies on time.

“The epidemic of whooping cough is showing little sign of going away which makes our smallest and most vulnerable residents a priority,” says Medical Officer of Health, Dr Jim Miller.

In 2012, Toi Te Ora – Public Health Service was notified of 189 Bay of Plenty cases of whooping cough, with 11 aged under one year. Babies under one year are vulnerable and need to start immunisation at six weeks. Babies who get whooping cough are most at risk of serious complications and more likely to need hospitalisation. Even the healthiest babies can catch serious diseases if they are not immunised.

“The community has really got behind the immunisation programme recently with almost 90% coverage at two years, but not all babies are being protected early enough,” says Dr Miller. At six months old around 35% of babies are still not up-to-date with their immunisations. “Getting started on time at six weeks is a good way to make sure that babies get the best protection,” says Dr Miller.

Toi Te Ora – Public Health Service is posting out immunisation information to parents across the Bay of Plenty, backed by a specific website page, radio and Facebook messages.

Parents can contact their local medical centre for an appointment for their baby or to discuss immunisation. Childhood immunisations are free. For more information call 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863) or visit www.ttophs.govt.nz

ENDS

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