DHB beats target for vaccinations

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 03/07/2014

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The South Canterbury District Health Board (SCDHB) is exceeding its childhood immunisation targets.

In May the DHB immunised 92 per cent of eight-month-old babies on time. Its target is 90 per cent. For the same month it immunised 98 per cent of two-year-olds on time, exceeding its target for that age group by 3 per cent.

SCDHB general manager for primary and community services Fiona Pimm said the DHB's success was helped by improvements to the way the Ministry of Health monitors the situation.

"The improved reporting and monitoring systems have allowed for easier tracking of children."

One missed immunisation means the child will not be fully immunised, which affects the DHB's success rate.

"One child can equal as much as 1-2 per cent in a region of this size. Missing immunisations puts the child and the community at risk of disease."

Reminders are sent to parents when immunisations are due. They also get reminders at Well Child checks.

The government-funded rotavirus vaccine is also now part of the immunisation programme being rolled out to young children, free of charge. The rotavirus vaccine, which is given orally rather than by injection, is part of babies' standard immunisations at 6 weeks, 3 months and 5 months.

Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew said often with childhood vaccines, parents can catch up. "But for rotavirus, babies must have the first of three doses before they are 15 weeks old. If they're too late, then babies will miss out."

Babies born on or after March 19, 2014, will still have a chance to get the free vaccine, but the oldest of those babies will only have a few days, she said. Until this week, parents had to pay about $240 for the vaccine course, plus an administration charge.

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- The Timaru Herald

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