Childhood vaccinations can slip to the back of your mind, especially with a pandemic to worry about.
We know that many tamariki are behind with their childhood vaccinations. Often this is due to lockdowns making it hard to get to see your doctor or whaanau wanting to protect their tamariki from catching COVID-19 in the community.
Childhood vaccinations rates have declined dramatically over the last few years, meaning many children aren’t covered against dangerous diseases like measles. Immunisation coverage at six months of age has fallen in New Zealand from a high of around 80 percent in early 2020 to 67 percent by June 2022, and 45 percent for Maaori.
Michaela Ralph-Smith, Programme Manager, Primary Care and Operations Manager, COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, says the target is at least 95% percent coverage because at this level most children are immune and collectively the community is better protected from these diseases spreading.
“Te Whatu Ora Counties Manukau has created a local action plan to urgently improve childhood immunisation rates for Maaori and Pacific tamariki aged 0-5 years and pertussis immunisation rates for pregnant women.
“This action plan includes providing dedicated childhood/antenatal immunisations focussed teams to bolster our existing Outreach Immunisation Services and partnering with other health service teams such as our Smoke Free, Primary Care and Maternity Service teams.
“We are also working with our Street Chats teams to engage with local communities and share information, answer questions and have meaningful conversations about immunisations.
“By learning from whaanau voices, taking a more whaanau centred view and engaging with providers who were very effecting during COVID, we can provide accessible vaccination in our communities.”
Immunisation is the best way to protect pregnant women, babies and children from many vaccine preventable diseases which cause serious and sometimes fatal illness.
Vaccination starts early because the diseases vaccination provides protection from are more serious for younger babies but still important as they get older.
But how do you catch up on the childhood vaccinations your tamariki might’ve missed out on?
Please make an appointment with your family doctor or ring and ask to talk to the practice nurse about your peepee(baby)/tamariki (child) immunisations.
Vaccine protection for babies starts early; during their pregnancy and by being vaccinated on time once they are born starting at six weeks of age
Tamariki under 18 can get free vaccinations against 12 diseases from their family doctor or nurse. When they’re 11 and 12, they might get their vaccinations at school.
Check out the infomation on what ages you should have what vaccinations here: https://issuu.com/communicationsmiddlemore/docs/connect_december_2022