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Anti-vaxxer movement contributing to New Zealand's immunisation target failure - Health Minister

New Zealand failing to hit its vaccination rate is "disappointing", says Health Minsiter David Clark, with the anti-vaxxer movement a large contributor. 

Only one district health board hit its target for increased immunisation for the first quarter of 2019. 

"The immunisation target under the previous Government suggests 95 per cent is the target, it's never been achieved," Dr Clark said. 

"It's stayed stubbornly in the low-90s."

When asked by TVNZ1's Q+A host Jack Tame why the rate failed to rise, Dr Clark said the anti-vaxxer movement was a contributer. 

"There an anti-vaxxer movement which people are hearing about, social media has something to do with the spread of that campaign. It's really disappointing because we know vaccines saves lives. The science is absolutely clear on this."

Dr Clark said people needed to be role modelling immunisation, DHBs needed to get out in communities more, but ruled out placing sanctions - labelling it "challenging and problematic". 

"I think as a society we've been a little bit complacent at times, a lot of these really frightening diseases we haven't seen much recently."

"I generally think that sanctions are challenging and problematic because we shouldn't be punishing children for the decisions of their parents. 

"If anything, those children need education more than anyone else."

He said DHBs needed to "step up". 

"There are some strategies, getting out to people on the marae, evening clinics - setting things up where people are to make it easier for people to get vaccinations is something we need to do more of."

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Dr Clark spoke about DHB and Pharmac funding, vaccinations and his view on cannabis, on June 18. Source: Q+A

Q+A is on TVNZ1 Mondays at 9.30pm, and the episode is then available on TVNZ OnDemand and as a podcast in all the usual places.

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The vaccination rate has stayed in the low 90 per cent, rather than hitting the targeted 95 per cent. Source: Q+A