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Van brings free immunisations to regions

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Hundreds of little people have walked, tottered, or been carried up the steps of Waikato District Health Board's mobile immunisation van over the past 12 months allowing staff to deliver 800 free immunisations.

"Over the past year we've been to most towns across the Waikato and each time we get great response from parents or caregivers bringing their little people to our van," says the DHB's Population Health assistant group manager Clare Coles.

But as World Immunisation Week gets underway, Mrs Coles says there are still not enough vaccinated children in the region. Only 61 percent of six-month-olds are fully immunised. While the mobile immunisation van has helped increase the rate of immunisation around the district, parents and caregivers need to remain vigilant as their children's vaccination due dates roll round.

She said children are eligible for free immunisations that protect children against 10 diseases. Immunisations must be given at standardised times such as when a child is six weeks, three months, five months, 15 months and four years.

"It's important the vaccinations are given in a timely fashion as delaying it leaves kids unnecessarily vulnerable to infection."

The mobile van has provided an important service for hard to reach families across Waikato for the past four years. It has visited everywhere from Matamata to Raglan, Taumarunui to Te Kauwhata.

While the mobile immunisation van is a vital backstop for some families, Mrs Coles said parents and caregivers shouldn't rely solely on the van turning up in their town, as any delay in children's vaccinations could be dangerous.

"If parents have fallen behind with their immunisations they can always contact their family doctor or practice nurse, make an appointment, and catch up. It is always free."

"It's really important that they do that because children need to get vaccines at the recommended time to get the best protection."

It's never too late, she said.

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