University leading research project to immunise more children

Press Release – New Zealand Government
Health Minister Tony Ryall welcomed today’s announcement by the Health Research Council of New Zealand to provide $445,000 grant funding for a project that aims to further increase immunisation rates for children.

“New Zealand has gone from one of the lowest immunisation rates in the developed world to one of the best. However, with vaccine-preventable diseases, like whooping cough, present in some of our communities we need to ensure more children are immunised on time,” says Mr Ryall.

“93 per cent of all two year olds are fully immunised – this compares to 67 per cent in 2007. And what’s more, there is virtually no difference in the rates between ethnicities or family income.”

The research project, led by Dr Nikki Turner, Director of the Immunisation Advisory Centre at the University of Auckland, will look at how general practices with high immunisation rates have been successful and pass this knowledge on to general practices with lower rates.

Mr Ryall says the research team believes by sharing this knowledge, it will result in more children being protected against common childhood diseases like whooping cough, measles and mumps.

“This research, which will be completed in 2014, supports the Government’s better public services target to increase infant immunisation rates. The target is to have 95 per cent of eight-month-olds fully immunised by 2014 and maintain those rates until 2017.”

The project is being funded through the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Research Grant – Health Knowledge to Action. This is a joint Ministry of Health and Health Research Council of New Zealand funding initiative to promote health research that is then put into practice.

The Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Research Grant is one of a range of initiatives being commissioned by the Government to celebrate the diamond jubilee.

Link to Health Research Council: http://www.hrc.govt.nz

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