The latest national childhood immunisation rates released today for the period 1 April 2023 to 30 June 2023 shows 83.1 percent of New Zealand tamariki are immunised at 24 months of age, compared to 83.2 percent for the three-month period ending 31 March 2023.

Other childhood immunisation coverage measures, which are part of New Zealand’s Official Statistics System, remained steady with rates of 83.4 percent at age 8 months and 81.0 percent at age 5 years for the quarter.

Coverage rates for tamariki Māori improved by 0.7 percent at both 24 months and 5 years but dropped by 1 percent at 8 months. Coverage for Pacific children decreased for all three key milestone ages this quarter, down 3.3 percent at 8 months, 0.2 percent at 2 years and 2.5 percent at age 5.

The latest data continues to highlight a persistent equity gap for tamariki Māori and continues at all milestone ages compared to non-Māori (of 19.8 percent at 8 months, 18.1 percentage points at 24 months, and 14.2 percentage points at 5 years).

Immunisation coverage is measured to identify groups at risk of vaccine-preventable diseases and to evaluate the effectiveness of programmes designed to increase coverage.

Dr Nick Chamberlain - National Director, National Public Health Service says Te Whatu Ora and Te Aka Whai Ora are committed to improving childhood immunisation rates and are actively working closely with the rest of the health sector, iwi and hapū, and community organisations to ensure tamariki can grow up without the risk of serious illness from preventable disease.

“Implementing all 54 recommendations of the Immunisation Taskforce remains at the heart of our approach to increasing the number of our tamariki who are protected against a range of vaccine preventable disease. To support this critical mahi, a recurrent Taskforce Programme budget of $10.8M (beginning in the 2023/24 financial year) to fund implementation of the Taskforce recommendations has been committed.

“Of the 54 recommendations, all have been started or are underway. These include enabling a broader range of providers to access funded vaccines at no cost, the development of the Aotearoa Immunisation Register (replacing the National Immunisation Register) which is due to launch in November, and the expansion and diversification of the vaccinator workforce through the Vaccinating Health Worker (VHW) role, which was developed during the COVID-19 response.”

A target of 95 percent of children to be fully immunised at 24 months of age was in place for the period, however an interim target for 2023/24 of 90 percent of children fully immunised at age 2 has been set as part of Te Whatu Ora’s Statement of Performance Expectations. This target will lift to the longer-term target of 95 percent in 2024/25 and outyears. The interim target is in place to enable the design and implementation of the Immunisation Taskforce recommendations.

The expectation for HPV immunisation is for 75 percent of the current birth cohort to be fully immunised. For 2022/23, 70.5 percent of those born in 2009 have received a first dose of the HPV vaccine, and 56.7 percent have received two doses.

This quarter’s statistics are available here.