Timely immunisations a must says WDHB

Overall, the Whanganui District Health Board’s (WDHB) immunisation steering group is pleased with Whanganui’s immunisation rates and the 91 percent target rating achieved by the WDHB in the first quarter of the 2011/2012 year.
However, the group is urging parents to book timely immunisations for their children and WDHB professional advisor health promotion Lauren Tamehana is backing their call.
Mrs Tamehana says while most parents are vigilant about immunisation and making sure their children receive vaccinations within the set timeframe, concern remains for those children who miss some vaccinations and those who receive them well outside the advised timeframe.
“Timely vaccinations help us control preventable disease outbreaks like measles and whooping cough which can cause serious illness and side effects such as blindness and brain damage,” Mrs Tamehana says.
“In response to the serious measles outbreak currently spreading through New Zealand, our primary health care staff are working very hard to follow up with families who have missed vaccinations.
“We’re asking families to please contact their GPs to check if their children are fully immunised and arrange appointments for them to be seen straight away if they’re not. The Gonville Clinic is open on Wednesdays 9am to 1pm for parents with no GP. And on the first Monday of each month parents can drop into WAM at Wanganui Hospital between 5pm and 7pm.”
Meanwhile, in 2010/2011 when New Zealand’s 20 DHBs were asked to ensure that 90 percent of children in their regions were fully immunised by their second birthday, Whanganui rated 14th on the table with an 89 percent target rate.
Following the lifting of the target to 95 percent on July 1 this year, it’s not known yet where the WDHB sits on the table for the first quarter of the 2011/2012 year but it is known that WDHB achieved a 91 percent target rate for that period.
“We accept that as long as some families knowingly choose not to immunise their children we will struggle to reach the 95 percent target but it is a tribute to the efforts of the Primary Health Care staff in the Whanganui region, and particularly the Whanganui Regional Primary Health Organisation (WRPHO) immunisation outreach team, that the rate has lifted from 89 percent to 91 percent,” Mrs Tamehana says.
“The immunisation steering group is asking parents to continue to support the collective effort to have our children immunised to protect them against disease, and to do so on schedule.”