The number of parents refusing to have their children immunised against diseases has nearly doubled in Marlborough and Nelson.
The growing number of objectors meant the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board missed its immunisation health target for children under two for the last quarter of the year.
The Ministry of Health insists 95 per cent of infants are immunised by 24 months for diseases such as whooping cough, tetanus, hepatitis B and measles, mumps and rubella.
The health board achieved 85 per cent for January-March.
Parents declining vaccines jumped from 5.3 per cent to 9.1 per cent in that time. Figures to the end of June were not available yesterday.
The national average of parents declining immunisation is about five per cent.
Health board community-based service director Peter Burton said parents had a responsibility to have their children vaccinated.
The board has teamed up with the region's two primary health organisations to tackle the drop in immunisation rates, he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News