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Newsletter Article


Childhood Immunization Rates Reach Record High

The number of New Zealand children fully immunized by age two has achieved a record high of just over 88 percent. This marks a significant rise from 73 percent in 2007, when the then Labour government made improving immunization rates one of its 10 national health targets. In 2009, the current Government reaffirmed its commitment to childhood immunization, making it one of six nationwide Health Targets, and investing over NZ$1 billion (US$650 million in 2009) in public health. The targets set in 2009 aimed to have 85 percent of New Zealand children fully immunized by age two by 2010, 90 percent by 2011, and 95 percent by 2012.

To achieve the targets, the Ministry appointed Dr. Pat Tuohy the Immunisation Health Target Champion. Tuohy developed 10 key actions to improve immunization rates including recommendations that all children be enrolled with a general practice as soon as possible after birth; parents be contacted before each immunization is due; and that immunization appointments be made at a time that suits the parents.

In the past two years, the number of Maori and Pacific children fully immunized at age two rose nearly 14 percent, to 85 and 91 percent, respectively. Immunization rates in the Auckland area also saw significant gains, with a near 20 percent rise over the past two years. Despite these gains, New Zealand still lags behind other developed nations, where childhood immunization rates by age one average over 95 percent.


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