Evie Connor (12) discusses her HPV vaccination with public
health nurse Marion O'Kane at Outram School. Photo
The recent outbreak of a disease that had largely
disappeared in New Zealand shows the benefits of immunisation,
Public Health South public health physician Keith Reid says.
Dr Reid was referring to the North Island measles outbreak of
128 confirmed cases that started last December. Some parents
were unwilling to expose their child to the perceived risk of
immunisation to prevent diseases rarely seen in New Zealand,
The Southern District Health Board was achieving high rates
and 94% of 2-year-olds had been fully immunised in the first
quarter of this year. Dr Reid said there were two kinds of
vaccine sceptics among parents.
The first group were staunch opponents and could not be
persuaded. A second group had their doubts, or had been
swayed by ''myths'', but could usually be persuaded after a
face-to-face meeting with vaccination experts.
Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew released a statement
last week announcing influenza vaccines this year had already
topped 1 million doses. Eligible groups are covered for the
vaccine, but others have to pay. Dr Reid, originally from
Scotland, said he had a ''personal view'' that differed from
''Coming from a UK background, I have a slight difficulty
with the idea of recommending a vaccine but requiring people
to pay for it.
''And that's my cultural problem, coming from the [National
Health Service] where you wouldn't make a recommendation if
it wasn't funded.
''Making a recommendation but not funding it, from a
professional public health point of view, contributes to
increasing inequalities, because it effectively excludes
people on low incomes from effective protection.''