Doctors' clinics in New Zealand are struggling to get children their routine vaccinations after Covid-19 lockdown saw many missing appointments and falling behind in their immunisation schedule.
Some GP clinics still haven’t been able to get in touch with families who missed out, leaving doctors around the country worried about the potential fallout.
Vicky Maiave, a Turuki Healthcare nurse in South Auckland, says her clinic had a lot of phone calls from families asking if they could bring their babies to get vaccinated, and despite them saying yes, they all chose not to.
Home visit offers have also been turned down.
“Mums who have had babies over the Covid period have chosen not to come in and get their babies vaccinated because of the fear of bringing their baby out."
Children in New Zealand get injections for diseases such as chicken pox, measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough as early as six weeks old to four years.
The Ministry of Health won't know how many children have fallen behind for some weeks yet. The data is only collated every three months.
Dr Bryan Betty of the Royal College of GPs says it’s something that needs to be worked on, with many diseases still prevalent in New Zealand.
“Diseases like measles, whooping cough, diphtheria, polio are still with us and the only protection we have is vaccination. So it is incredibly important that people understand that,” says Dr Betty.