Immunisation and rheumatic fever prevention remain
Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman
Minister of Health
13th March 2017
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the latest Better Public
Service (BPS) results for immunisation and rheumatic fever show
improvements have been made, but there is still more work to
"Immunisation protects children from some serious but
preventable diseases and helps to stop those diseases spreading.
High coverage is important to protect not only the health of an
individual but to protect the community as well," says Dr
"Since the BPS target of fully immunising 95 per cent of eight
month old was introduced in 2012 coverage is up from 86 per cent to
consistently between 93 and 94 per cent across the country.
"In the quarter ending December 2016, 93.3 per cent of eight
month olds were fully immunised against vaccine preventable
diseases such as whooping cough."
Since December 2014, 13 of the 20 DHBs have achieved the target
of 95 per cent coverage for at least one quarter.
Coverage for Māori infants has improved increasing from 78 per
cent in 2012 to 91 per cent in 2016. Pacific immunisation rates are
the highest they have ever been in the quarter ending 31 December
2016, at 96.5 per cent.
"While we're making good progress in reducing the incidence of
rheumatic fever by two thirds by June 2017, there's still more work
to be done to meet the ambitious BPS target," says Dr Coleman.
"The current focus on rheumatic fever has resulted in a 23 per
cent decrease in cases, dropping from 177 cases in 2012 to 137 in
"More than half the country's rheumatic fever cases are in
Auckland, and increased efforts are being made at both regional and
national levels to reduce the number of children and young people
affected by rheumatic fever.
"This year's rheumatic fever awareness campaign, launched on 13
February, has an increased Auckland focus in more than 20 suburbs
across the three Auckland DHB regions.
"The campaign will extend to other DHB regions with a high
incidence of rheumatic fever in May and will run until the end of
The Government has committed $5 million a year over the next
five years to the 11 DHBs with a high incidence of rheumatic fever
so they can continue to deliver rheumatic fever prevention
activities to their priority populations.
Media contact: Angela Kenealy
March 13, 2017