General practice and district health boards are well on track to achieve the Government’s Better Public Services immunisation target, says Health Minister Tony Ryall.
“Our goal is 95 per cent of babies fully immunised by the time they’re eight months old, by December 2014, and that coverage rate maintained until at least 2017,” Mr Ryall says.
“Children are most vulnerable to infectious diseases between three and eighteen months of age and our new target will ensure babies are immunised on time and better protected from childhood diseases like whooping cough.”
Mr Ryall has told Parliament the latest national health target results, released yesterday, show 87 per cent of eight month olds are now fully immunised – exceeding the step target of 85 per cent of eight months old vaccinated on time by July 2013.
“This is a great achievement and it reflects the hard work of general practice teams, Well Child providers, community outreach groups, midwives, district health board immunisation staff and the national immunisation register team,” says Mr Ryall.
“General practices and immunisation teams in Capital & Coast and Southern DHB regions were outstanding performers this quarter achieving 93 per cent coverage.
“Immunisation is one of the most effective interventions to prevent against infectious diseases and the recent lift in immunisation rates is one of the most significant public health achievements of the past 10 years.
“Thanks to the commitment of frontline immunisation teams, New Zealand has gone from one of the lowest immunisation rates in the developed world to one of the best over the past four years,” Mr Ryall says.