'Great concern' at anti-immunisation messages getting through to parents

Experts are warning that more children could die of preventable illnesses unless parents receive greater encouragement to vaccinate them.

A study of almost 7000 women and 4000 of their partners has found that during pregnancy, just 39% received information encouraging them to vaccinate their newborns.

47% received no information either way, while 14% received information discouraging them from vaccinating.

“It’s disturbing that in this project we found some health professionals were providing a discouraging message”, Dr Cameron Grant from the University of Auckland told ONE News.

Mothers-to-be who received discouraging information were twice as likely not to have their children immunised, exposing them to deadly diseases like whooping cough. Three babies died in New Zealand during the last whooping cough outbreak.

Dr Grant told TVNZ's Breakfast it was a "great concern" that negative messages were having a bigger impact on parents.

"Those were from a variety of sources  - antenatal classes, lead maternity carers, GPs, a whole range," said Dr Grant, who is Growing Up in New Zealand associate director and Starship paediatrician.

New research shows parents who received information discouraging them from vaccinating their children were twice as likely to not to get them immunised. Source: Breakfast

"I worry that people don't see the pregnancy time period as the most important period to be getting really good information about immunisation.

"You don't want to wait until baby's born. Parent's aren't getting any sleep, they haven't got time to decide - they've got to have it all sorted out before baby's born."

Roughly 93% of Kiwi kids are being vaccinated in time, but Dr Grant believes more can be done to promote the benefits of vaccination, make it more accessible to families without access to a doctor, and dispel common myths - such as vaccination can lead to autism in children.

“I just worry a little bit that maybe we’re not selling the encouraging message as well as we could”, he said.

Prof Grant reiterated that there was no link between immunisation and autism.

"Unfortunately vaccination is always something that gets linked with other things. You're giving a vaccine to someone who is well so it's always something that makes people feel a little bit nervous."

"I think people sometimes feel they got perhaps more ability to protect themselves from these infections than they really have. They are such infectious diseases.

A study of nearly 7000 pregnant mothers found less than half were encouraged to vaccinate their children. Source: 1 NEWS

Research out this morning shows parents are being swayed by negative messages about vaccinating their children. Source: 1 NEWS

South Auckland charity The Aunties takes home top Women of Influence Award

The founder of a South Auckland charity group dubbed The Aunties has won the top honour at the Women of Influence Awards.

Jackie Clark set up the not-for-profit organisation six years ago to help vulnerable women and children who've experienced domestic violence.

The group's primary aim is to provide material needs to those they support.

"The Aunties believe everyone has the right to be safe, to have shelter, to be fed, to be loved, to dream, to read, to write, to have their say, and to be heard," the group proclaims on its Givealittle page. "Where any of those things are missing, the Aunties mission is to help provide them - the practical things, and also in terms of advocacy and pastoral care."

The group says it believes in manaakitanga - protecting the mana of the people they help so that they can find their way towards living independently, and with dignity and joy.

"Jackie and her fellow Aunties give without seeking anything in return and without judgement," said Westpac NZ chief executive David McLean, whose company co-sponsors the Women of Influence Awards. "She, and her core of other Aunties, ask vulnerable women what they need and then set about making it happen, in a completely selfless way.

"They have made an enormous contribution to our local communities at grassroots level."

The award ceremony was held last night at SkyCity in Auckland.

Here's the full list of winners:
Supreme Winner: Jackie Clark
Lifetime Achievement: Theresa Gattung
Arts and Culture: Miranda Harcourt
Board and Management: Dr Farah Palmer
Business and Enterprise: Angie Judge
Rural: Rebecca Keoghan
Public Policy: Charlotte Korte
Community/Not for Profit: Jackie Clark
Innovation and Science: Professor Wendy Larner
Diversity: Sarah Lang
Global: Sarah Vrede
Young Leader: Maddison McQueen-Davies

Jackie Clark set up the non-for-profit six years ago, which aims to help vulnerable women and children who have experienced domestic violence. Source: Breakfast



Eleven Glenorchy homes still without power 48 hours after early spring snowfall

Some resident in Central Otago's Glenorchy are still without power 48 hours after a spring snowfall caused major disruptions in the deep south.

Eleven properties remains with power this morning.

Aurora Energy is hoping to have power restored to the area by this evening.

Around 360 households in the central Otago town are affected, with Aurora Energy hoping to have electricity back on by this evening. Source: Breakfast

In many places power was cut, schools were closed and flights cancelled. Source: 1 NEWS


Watch: Artist uses pyramid in central Auckland to spread some joy around town

A Kiwi artist are architect is using a pyramid in central Auckland to spread some joy.

Matt Liggins has made it his mission to ask people what makes them smile, but instead of rolling up to you on the street he's built a pyramid to help lighten people's moods.

TVNZ1's Seven Sharp's Lucas de Jong went along to take a look and share a laugh in the video above.

Matt Liggins has made it his mission to ask Kiwis what makes them smile. Source: Seven Sharp

Meet the transgender Wellington school caretaker brightening up kids' days

A transgender caretaker at a Wellington school has been using her musical talents to brighten up the kids' days.

Molly Mason was born as Michael, but soon discovered she was a female born in a man's body.

"I believe I'm a woman, and I associate as a woman, so I live my life as a woman," Molly told TVNZ1's Seven Sharp.

Molly has a love of music that began when she was just six.

Now, in her role as caretaker at a Wellington school, she uses her talent to good effect by beat boxing with the kids at lunchtime.

"When I realised that beat boxing and making sounds was something I couldn't live without, that was it, nothing else mattered."

However, to be this woman - that little boy Michael, had a fight on his hands.

"I got bullied from primary school right through until the day I left college and left Blenheim."

Molly is now proud to be transgender and says the stage is her safe place. She performs as her drag alter ego called Bette Noir.

"Anything that makes me sad, makes me worried, makes me scared, anything that I find stressful, it's not there, it's gone." 

Seven Sharp’s Arrun Soma spoke with Molly Mason. Source: Seven Sharp