Making it easier for families to get their children immunised is one of the aims of a new vaccination van launched at Seugagogo Aoga Amata Preschool in Ōtāhuhu today.
"Being immunised is one of the best things we can do to protect our children, ourselves, aiga and our communities from some serious preventable diseases, like measles, pertussis (whooping cough), meningitis B, and chickenpox,” said Harriet Pauga, Regional Pacific Director, Northern, Te Whatu Ora at the launch new vaccination van.
“The COVID-19 vaccination campaign, showed that mobile health vans provide an accessible and convenient way for children and their families to get vaccinated. They also provide an effective opportunity to build stronger relationships and trust at the community level, which are invaluable when it comes to tackling broader health concerns."
A particular focus for the van is on raising the immunisation rates for four-year-olds before they start school. Recent figures suggest that on average 20 percent of children in the Auckland Metro area are starting school without being fully immunised, that figure rises to approximately 23 percent for Pacific children and 32 percent for tamariki Māori. This leaves them vulnerable to diseases such as flu, measles or whooping cough.
“It’s incredibly encouraging to see all the different ways community health providers across the region are reaching communities and this van further supports that work – as a resource that local providers can use, as well as our own vaccination teams; so overall we can have immunisation at more sites and be convenient for our families,” Ms Pauga said.
“It’s exciting that the new vans will be able to complement work already started, partnering mobile vaccination with early childhood centres. Immunisations can be offered on site, timed for child pick-up time so parents and caregivers can consent for their child to be immunised and be there to comfort and support them, as well as get caught up on immunisations themselves.
“Childhood immunisations are free, and they save lives, so it's important children have all their immunisations. If your child has missed any immunisations, it’s not too late to catch up.”
While the van is designed to promote and administer vaccinations, it can also be used for other health services such as cervical screening and well child tamariki ora checks.
This is the second of two new vans that will be used to support children and their families to be protected from preventable diseases. The first, launched in June, featured imagery of hāpu māma (pregnant mothers) while the second van has tamariki images.
“Making these vans available for community health providers and organisations is an example of how Te Whatu Ora is working to ensure greater access to healthcare in local communities to help everyone stay well,” Ms Pauga said.
Ally Clelland, Senior Media Advisor, Te Whatu Ora 021 271 5234
- It’s recommended that immunisations are given at specific times throughout your child’s life, between six weeks and four years old, with further immunisations at 11 or 12 and 18 years. The National Immunisation Schedule provides a timetable of when your child should get these immunisations to ensure they get the best possible protection against disease.
- In New Zealand, children are immunised against 13 preventable diseases, including whooping cough, chickenpox, and measles. These immunisations are free for babies, children, adolescents, and pregnant people.
- Pregnant people are encouraged to get vaccinated against flu, whooping cough, to protect themselves and their baby until baby is old enough to get their first vaccines at 6 weeks of age.
- From 1 March 2023 Meningococcal B vaccine has been funded alongside other childhood immunisations due at 3 months, 5 months, and 12 months of age; there is a catch-up programme for tamariki aged under 5 years of age – we encourage whānau to take the opportunity to have their tamariki immunised for this disease at any time convenient to them, it doesn’t need to be alongside other immunisations
- Children can also get additional vaccinations to protect them against the flu from 6 months old and COVID-19, if they’re over 5 years old. Some children may also need extra immunisations if they have long-term conditions.
- To find out if your child is up to date with their immunisations, or to get your child immunised talk to your doctor or practice nurse.
- For more information on immunising your child visit www.immunise.health.nz - this site also has the option to use your child’s date of birth to create a personalised schedule of what vaccines are due when.