A range of community immunisation events are underway this weekend for World Immunisation Week to help get local communities prepared for winter.

Immunisations are one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and others against disease.

The theme of this year’s World Immunisation Week focusses on improving access to immunisation for all children, regardless of where they live or the socioeconomic circumstances they find themselves in.

Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora has also announced that contracts for $50 million in funding have now been allocated to hauora Māori partners to help boost immunisation rates in communities, and this activity will start to roll out across New Zealand to support communities over the winter.

Activity underway this weekend will include community outreach events, kai and kōrero events, and pop-up mobile clinics.

“Winter is on our doorstep and with that comes an increased risk of flu. Immunisation reduces the chance of infection, protects you from the more severe effects if you do get sick, and prevents people from passing diseases on to the more vulnerable members of our communities,” says Selah Hart, Head of Hauora Māori Population and Public Health at Health NZ.

“We are also on the watch for other illnesses like measles and whooping cough. Our current vaccination rates mean that we are at an increased risk of an outbreak if these illnesses get into our communities.

“If you or your family members are due for a flu vaccination, Covid booster or childhood immunisations, I encourage you to get along to one of our events this week or to your local GP, pharmacy or health provider.”

The $50 million in funding will enable hauora Māori partners to deliver new immunisation initiatives tailored to their local communities. Of this, $30 million have been awarded to Whānau Ora hauora partners, $10 million to North Island hauora partners and $10 million to South Island hauora partners.

“Hauora Māori professionals know their communities exceptionally well, and this additional funding will help to ensure they can deliver immunisations in a way that works for whānau and helps to build trust,” says Selah.

Examples of the initiatives that will be part of the $50 million include:

  • Free provision of immunisation services throughout a variety of community settings, including mobile clinics, in private homes, community settings and other agencies and / or events.
  • Whole-of-whānau services that will enable all members that reside within a household to engage with immunisation services.
  • Outreach and other community engagement activities to help build trust in immunisations.
  • Training for additional vaccinators and building the vaccinator workforce to support immunisation.