Health authorities are concerned about a sharp drop in vaccination rates in Northland, particularly as fewer babies from poor and Māori families are immunised against serious diseases.

Ministry of Health data and documents show while great gains in infant immunisation rates in New Zealand were made between 2009 and 2016, since early 2017 rates have started to decrease.

"This decrease is primarily driven by a reduction in Māori immunisation rates with a resulting widening of the equity gap in infant immunisation coverage," it said.

Māori immunisation rates are of greatest concern in the Northern region, which includes Northland, Auckland and

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