Source: Voxy.co.nz, 30
More effort must be made to lift immunisation rates for Maori
and Pacific peoples, and other population groups, says the NZ
College of Public Health Medicine (NZCPHM).
NZCPHM has released an updated policy on immunisation and is
raising its concerns to mark World Immunisation Awareness Week, an
annual World Health Organization event (30 April - 6 May).
The College recognises immunisation as a highly effective means
of preventing a number of infectious diseases and some cancers.
"Inequities in immunisation rates between population groups, for
example between Maori and Pacific groups and Europeans, contribute
to disparities in health outcomes between those ethnicities,"
College president, Dr Felicity Dumble, said.
She said universal programmes like immunisation reduce health
The College is also recommending more effort to promote the
immunisation of children and adults according to the National
Immunisation Schedule and to immunise healthcare workers against
influenza, measles and pertussis infections.
"This is not only for their own protection, but also to reduce
the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases to vulnerable patients,
including the unborn children of pregnant women."
This would help achieve the high coverage rates required to
prevent outbreaks, eradicate disease, and provide personal
Dr Dumble said it is also important to develop new vaccines to
reduce inequitable diseases such as rheumatic fever,
Dr Dumble said immunisation rates in New Zealand have improved
significantly in recent years. However there remain areas and
population groups where immunisation rates are below recommended
levels and targets, and this must be addressed as part of improving
the health of the New Zealand public.