How well are we protecting our children? An immunisation coverage survey in Hawke's Bay

N Z Med J. 1992 Jul 22;105(938):277-9.


Aims: In July 1991, an immunisation coverage survey was conducted to assess the proportion of two year old children who have been vaccinated in the Hawke's Bay.

Methods: Parents from a representative sample of 100 households with children between the ages of two and four years of age were interviewed regarding household characteristics and parental attitudes towards immunisation. Immunisation histories were abstracted from each child's Health and Development Record Book or, if this was not available or was incomplete, from records retained by the general practitioner(s) responsible for administering immunisations to the child.

Results: Coverage levels among two year olds exceeded 85% for all postneonatal vaccinations scheduled for the first year of life; however, levels among two year olds were lower than 85% for all vaccinations scheduled to be received after the first birthday. Overall, only 61% (95% confidence interval (CI) = 50.7, 70.6) of the children were fully vaccinated by the age of two years. Children living in a household where the principal source of income was from benefits were almost 60% less likely to have been fully immunised at two years of age (odds ratio (OR) = 0.42, 95% CI = 0.18, 0.97), as were Maori children (OR = 0.43, 95% CI = 0.18, 1.06).

Conclusions: These results emphasise the need for enhanced education about the importance of completing the full series of recommended vaccinations and of on-time vaccination, as well as for checking childrens' vaccination histories at every contact with the healthcare system and, where necessary, administering past-due immunisations.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Child, Preschool
  • Data Collection
  • Ethnicity
  • Family Characteristics
  • Family Practice
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunization / standards*
  • Immunization / statistics & numerical data
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Medical Records
  • New Zealand
  • Parents / education
  • Parents / psychology
  • Population Surveillance