$50 million to lift immunisation rates

Health Minister Dr Shane Reti has announced a two-year $50 million package to help Māori health providers lift immunisation rates. 

Launching the programme in Porirua today, Dr Reti says low immunisation rates put tamariki at particular risk of life threatening – and in some cases deadly – illness.  

“We have a shared determination to make a difference for our most vulnerable.  

“That’s why this programme is important and why as a government we’re determined immunisation rates will improve for all children, including low-coverage Māori babies and children.  

“When there are outbreaks of serious disease like whooping cough or measles, which happens usually every three to four years, it’s high-needs communities and pēpi Māori who are often more adversely affected.  

“Immunisation is one of the best ways to set up tamariki for a healthy future. 

It protects them from serious but preventable disease and reduces the risk of hospitalisation or worse – something no parent wants to face.  

“We also want to be able to offer additional immunisation protection for our elders who need it.” 

Of the $50 million over two years, $30 million will go to Whānau Ora providers to work with those most at risk – Māori and non-Māori pēpi, hāpu māma, and kaumātua. An additional $10 million will go to North Island partners and $10 million to South Island partners.  

“The new funding will play a vital role in helping Māori health providers better reach out into their communities,” Dr Reti says. 

 “Whānau Ora services the under privileged and hard to reach communities where vaccination will be offered to everyone who is eligible, and Māori and non-Māori who are ready to be vaccinated.

“National campaigned on improved immunisation rates and it’s a key part of our health targets.” 

Also in Porirua, Dr Reti launched My Health Record, an app giving people improved access to their personal health records, and confirmed the expansion of the Aotearoa Immunisation Register (AIR), to support vaccination outreach activity.  

The expanded register went live in early December and means health providers and vaccinators can view gaps in immunisation history and be able to offer vaccinations through existing GP connections or a vaccinator portal. 

Editors notes 

Current Māori immunisation rates are: 

  • 66.8 per cent at 8 months 
  • 70.1 per cent at 24 months 
  • 69.7 per cent at 5 years