Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Child immunisation rates mostly good:

Child immunisation rates are very high in most parts of Australia but are worryingly low in others.
By Motherpedia
Date: April 12 2013
Tags: children, health,
Editor Rating:

Rates of child immunisation are high in many parts of Australia, but there are some communities where levels are low enough to increase the risk that some contagious diseases may spread.

The second Healthy Communities report from the National Health Performance Authority has found that more than 95% of children in some areas are fully immunised, but there are still almost 77,000 children across Australia who are not fully immunised.

The breaks immunisation rates down into the 61 areas covered by the new network of Medicare Locals, as well as by about 325 smaller units of geography (called ‘statistical areas’). It measures the proportion of children who were considered fully immunised at 1 year, 2 years and 5 years in 2011-12.

The report has found there were 32 of the 325 statistical areas in 2011-12 in which children who had not been fully immunised were most at risk of being exposed to contagious diseases such as measles and whooping cough. In these areas, 85% or less of children were fully immunised in at least one of the three age groups.

Immunisation is an important tool in the fight against contagious diseases.

Vaccination protects individuals against diseases such as measles, whooping cough and meningitis (when caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b). It also protects those who are too young to be vaccinated, or who are more vulnerable to serious complications due to underlying medical conditions, by reducing the risk of spread across the community.

The Council of Australian Governments has set performance benchmarks for child immunisation, under which states and territories are expected to maintain or improve their respective immunisation rates for children aged 4 years (measured at 5 years), for Indigenous children at 1, 2 and 5 years, and in areas of agreed low vaccination coverage.

The report will help clinicians, health managers and others to work out where further work was most needed.

* * *

A copy of the full report can be found here.

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