Immunisation rates better for all

Tony Ryall

14 NOVEMBER, 2013

There has been an unprecedented increase in the Maori immunisation rates over the past four years.

Immunisation rates for Maori children have improved so much in the past four years that the Maori rates are now equal to or better than the New Zealand European rate in more than half of the country’s district health boards (DHBs).

Two-year-old Maori children have higher immunisation rates than New Zealand European children in Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, Lakes, Northland, Tairawhiti, Wairarapa, Waitemata and West Coast DHBs. And equal rates in Canterbury, Hutt Valley, Southern and Taranaki DHBs.

Health Minister Tony Ryall says results for Pacific communities are even better.

“Immunisation rates for Pacific children are equal to or better than the New Zealand European children in 17 DHBs. Even more impressive, in eight of these DHBs every single Pacific child was fully immunised at two years of age,” says Mr Ryall.

End of financial year data from the Ministry of Health shows 90 per cent of Maori children and 95 per cent of Pacific children were fully immunised by their second birthday.

In 2007, only 59 per cent of Maori children and 63 per cent of Pacific children were fully immunised – this equates to a 50 per cent improvement.

“This is a tremendous result and a tribute to the hard work of general practice teams, Well Child providers, community outreach teams, midwives, district health board staff and the national immunisation programme team.

“For the past four years these immunisation teams have taken our country from having one of the lowest immunisation rates in the world to having one of the highest. They have also removed the significant difference in rates between different groups that we had in the past,” says Mr Ryall.