Covid sees Auckland children’s immunisation rate at lowest point in 2 years, according to latest ProCare data

The percentage of children across Tāmaki Makaurau that have received their recommended childhood immunisations by the age of two, is at its lowest point in two years according to the latest Population Health data from leading healthcare provider ProCare.

In April this year, the percentage of tamariki fully immunised sat at 82% across the ProCare network, down from 87% in April 2021 and down from 90% in April 2020.

Unsurprisingly when this data is broken down by high-needs population groups, we see the same story. In April 2022, 68% of Māori tamariki aged 24 months had been fully vaccinated, down from 75% in April 2021 and 85% in April 2020. For Pasifika families, in April 2022, 80% of children aged 24 months had been fully vaccinated, down from 82% in April 2021 and 90% in April 2020.

Dr Sue Wells, Associate Clinical Director at ProCare says: "Auckland, and the rest of New Zealand aren’t alone in this trend of falling immunisation rates, as we’re seeing a similar story across most parts of the world. While the fall in numbers might not seem like a significant decrease, the reality is that it’s heart breaking, as it means hundreds of children across Tāmaki Makaurau are missing out on being protected.

"We know that Covid has been a significant factor in people not bringing their tamariki to their general practices for their immunisations. However, it is imperative that children receive their immunisations on time, as all of the vaccinations on the schedule are for preventable diseases," she continues.

"Now that we’re in orange and case numbers are continuing to fall on a weekly basis, it’s imperative that whānau take this time to catch up on any of their immunisations that have been missed. This is especially true as our borders open up more and more, and the likely influx of viruses such as RSV and measles," continues Dr Wells.

Bindi Norwell, Chief Executive at ProCare says: "The irony of this data is that it’s been published just as the World Health Organisation launches its annual World Immunisation Week of which the theme for 2022 is ‘a long life for all’. If we don’t ensure our tamariki are vaccinated on time, there are significant chances that our children will be at high risk of developing some of these diseases.

"We know our practices will be doing their best over the coming months to reach out to families, especially those who they know have underlying health conditions, to ensure they receive their immunisations as quickly as possible. However, we would also encourage families to call their practice and book their child in if they know their child has missed a scheduled immunisation," she concludes.

By the age of two years, as recommended by the Ministry of Health, all tamariki should have received immunisations at:

- 6 weeks: Rotovirus, Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis/Polio/Hepatitis B/Haemophilus influenzae type b and Pneumococcal
- 3 months: Rotavirus and Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis/Polio/Hepatitis B/Haemophilus influenzae type b
- 5 months: Diphtheria/Tetanus/Pertussis/Polio/Hepatitis B/Haemophilus influenzae type b and Pneumococcal
- 12 months: Measles/Mumps/Rubella and Pneumococcal
- 15 months: Haemophilus influenzae type b, Measles/Mumps/Rubella and Varicella (Chickenpox).

A poster of the immunisation schedule can be found here: 

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