Joint Statement Taranaki District Health Board and Te Whare Punanga Korero (TWPK)

14 December 2011

Te Whare Punanga Korero (TWPK) and the Taranaki DHB strongly support the continued improvement in immunisation rates for Tamariki in Taranaki.

Taranaki District Health Board Chair Mary Bourke said increased immunisation is one of six Government health targets and the board is committed to meeting the target in Taranaki.

“Immunisation is one of the most effective and cost-effective medical interventions to prevent disease

“Immunisation is the best protection for children against a range of harmful diseases with potentially serious long term complications,” said Ms Bourke. “Much work has been done to increase the uptake of immunisation in Taranaki by DHB staff, GP practices and Maori outreach immunisation services,”

Te Whare Punanga Korero (TWPK) Chairman Darryn Ratana agrees. “The most important thing is that our parents make the decision to immunise our tamariki from an informed position.” he said. “The latest statistics are very encouraging but there is still more to be done.”

The proportion of Maori children fully immunised at the age of 24 months in the Taranaki region has increased from 86% at June 2010 to 91% in November 2011. The current immunisation rate for Maori at 91% is now approaching that for the total population and the inequalities in immunisation previously seen between ethnic groups is reducing.

Medical Officer of Health, Dr Greg Simmons, reminds parents about the importance of English measles immunisation following an ongoing large outbreak of the disease in the North Island this year. The vast majority of those who have caught measles were not immunised.

 “The best protection against measles is to receive two doses of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine,” said Dr Simmons. “In order to stop measles outbreaks, 95% of the population need to have immunity.”  MMR is free for those not immunised, available through general practices and recommended to anyone aged under 42 years.

For more information please call:
Sue Carrington
Media Adviser
Ph 021 367 789

Last updated: Wednesday, December 14, 2011

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