Immunisation the key to protecting against harmful infections
24/07/2019 5:14:30 p.m.

Wednesday 24 July 2019



Immunisation the key to protecting against harmful infections


Lakes DHB is aware that immunisation rates have been dropping for our population as part of a national trend across the country and that rates for Maori babies are particularly low.

Portfolio Manager Pip King says, the DHB is concerned at the seriousness of this trend for the wellbeing of our whanau, babies and children. Immunisation can protect people against harmful infections, which can cause serious complications, including death. It is one of the most effective, and cost-effective medical interventions to prevent disease.

Childhood immunisations are mostly delivered in the community in general practices. Lakes DHB has an immunisation outreach service which works with hard to reach families. All immunisations are registered on the National Immunisation Register and monthly childhood immunisation reports are closely monitored. These reports show statistics on immunisation coverage by ethnicity and level of deprivation at the immunisation milestones (6 months, 8 months, 12 months, 18 months, 24 months, 5 years and 12 years).

Pip King says there is no single reason to explain the disappointing figures.

She says it is a combination of: mixed messages through social media and some historical misinformation, families who keep moving from place to place (as a result it is often difficult for staff to keep track of them and to keep the babies up to date with their immunisations), some families choosing to decline the immunisations, some babies having part of the childhood series and not being able to complete the series, children being late completing the series, and other times it is difficult for whanau to access and complete the series of immunisations.

Lakes DHB is committed to doing all it can to protect children and babies against serious illness and to keep its population healthy and well.

Lakes DHB is refreshing its approach to maternal and child wellbeing, which includes immunisation, in line with its refreshed strategic goals of: achieving equity in Maori health, building an integrated health system and strengthening whanau and community wellbeing.

Pip King says this new approach will see the DHB work with Maori to co-design whanau centred services, closely monitor immunisation coverage and data for Maori, and address the areas that require more flexible delivery of services for whanau.

“Part of this approach will require us to look at how we are currently delivering these services, so that we can work alongside Maori to improve the rate of immunisation for Maori babies and their whanau against preventable diseases.”

The National Immunisation Schedule is the series of vaccines that are offered free to babies, children, adolescents and adults.

For more information see:
https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/preventative-health-wellness/immunisation/new-zealand-immunisation-schedule