Four-year-olds slip net for vaccination

South Canterbury's four-year-olds are more likely to miss their childhood vaccinations than any other age group, the local district board's immunisation co-ordinator Deb Batchelor says.

Mrs Batchelor said some parents were forgetting to have their children immunised at the age of four because of the large gap between then and their previous vaccinations at 15 months old.

Based on the national immunisation schedule, parents are encouraged to get their children vaccinated at the age of four against measles-mumps and rubella (MMR), diphtheria-tetanus-acellular-pertussis and inactivated polio (DTaP-IPV).

Children get their first lot of vaccinations at six weeks old.

Immunisation among children under the age of two is also a strong focus for the South Canterbury District Health Board (SCDHB), which has struggled to meet the required national target of 95 per cent in recent months. It has dropped to 93 per cent.

The SCDHB aims to have all under-two-year-olds up to date with their immunisations by June, Mrs Batchelor said.

A mobile immunisation service was set up in January to ensure children in remote areas could get easy access to vaccinations.

Whooping cough, clinically known as pertussis, is among the vaccinations SCDHB staff are currently pushing for children to get following an outbreak in some parts of the country.

There have been 20 confirmed or suspected cases notified in South Canterbury this year. Figures show some parts of the country are experiencing an outbreak, with 1258 cases recorded nationwide this year.

The Timaru Herald