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More children protected from infectious diseases

Hon Tony Ryall
Minister of Health

29 August 2012 Media Statement
More children protected from infectious diseases

Over the past five years, New Zealand has gone from one of the lowest immunisation rates in the developed world to one of the best.

“In 2007, when the Health Targets started, only 67 per cent of children were fully immunised by their second birthday,” says Health Minister Tony Ryall.

“The latest quarterly results for the Government’s Health Targets show immunisation rates continue to increase with 93 per cent of all two-year old children now fully immunised.

“And what’s more, there is virtually no difference in the rates between ethnicities or family income. In fact, immunisation rates for the richest families are the same as our poorest families.

“This is one of the most significant public health achievements of the past 10 years. Immunisation is one of the most effective interventions to prevent against infectious diseases.”

Of the 15,769 children who turned two between 1 April and 30 June this year, 14,674 received their immunisation on time.

“This is a great achievement and reflects the hard work of GP clinics, Well Child providers, community outreach staff, district health boards (DHBs) and the national immunisation register team,” says Mr Ryall.

“Eight DHBs have been outstanding performers this quarter achieving the 95 per cent target – Auckland, Counties Manukau, Hawke’s Bay, MidCentral, South Canterbury, Southern, Tairawhiti and Waitemata.

“This is the last time the Ministry will be reporting the two-year immunisation results for the Health Targets – the focus will now be on eight-month olds.

“Evidence shows that if a child begins their immunisations on time, it significantly increases the likelihood that they will receive all of their childhood vaccinations. That’s why we’ve moved to the new health target – to focus on earlier, on-time vaccinations.

“A key part of achieving this new target is having newborns enrolled with a general practice at birth. Only around half of newborns are currently enrolled with a doctor at 12 weeks of age – their first vaccination is due at six weeks.

“Since last month, maternity unit staff notify general practices of a child’s birth before mother and baby leave the unit. With the baby registered as a patient, the practice can remind parents when they are due for vaccinations.

“This new at-birth enrolment will make it easier for parents to get their babies immunised on time.”


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