News

Child immunisation rates at record levels, but vaccine resistance persists


Paul Hayes


24/10/2018 11:57:45 AM

The number of fully immunised Australian children continues to rise, but vaccine-resistant pockets remain throughout the country.

Immunisation coverage for one-year-old and five-year-old children has increased since 2008.
Immunisation coverage for one-year-old and five-year-old children has increased since 2008.

Australia’s immunisation rate for five-year-old children rose to 94.62% in September, up from 94.42% in June, according to new data from the Australian National Immunisation Register.
 
The new figure represents the highest immunisation rate ever recorded for five-year-old children in Australia.
 
‘The latest figures show that the vast majority of parents are hearing the message about the benefits of vaccinations and I am delighted that our public health campaigns and our immunisation programs are protecting all Australians,’ Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said. 
 
‘Immunisation saves lives and protects lives, and it is important that we keep the public informed about its benefits.’
 
Victoria and Tasmania both topped the 95% mark for five-year-olds:

  • Australian Capital Territory – 94.8%
  • New South Wales – 94.56%
  • Victoria – 95.48%
  • Queensland – 94.46%
  • South Australia – 94.44%
  • Western Australia – 93.15%
  • Tasmania – 95.55%
  • Northern Territory – 93.3%
While the Government’s ‘aspirational target’ of 95% overall immunisation – designed to establish herd immunity – is yet to be met, immunisation coverage for one-year-old and five-year-old children has increased since 2008.
 
According to the latest September figures, national coverage rates were:
  • 94.02% for all one-year-olds
  • 90.63% for all two-year-olds
  • 94.62% for all five-year-olds.
Immunisation-rates-table-text-V2.png© Commonwealth of Australia: https://beta.health.gov.au/resources/publications/national-coverage-rates-for-all-children

Despite the overall continued rise, vaccine-resistant strongholds remain, with full immunisation rates of below 90% in a number of Primary Health Network (PHN) areas.
 
One of the lowest rates recorded in the country was in the northern NSW coastal area of Richmond Valley (86.09%), which includes Byron Bay and the Northern Rivers region.
 
‘There’s still work to do and we must remain vigilant, as there are some areas throughout the country where child vaccination rates are lower than what we would like them to be,’ Minister Hunt said.
 
‘Immunisation has been repeatedly demonstrated to be one of the most effective interventions to prevent disease worldwide, and our Government continues to invest in a strong vaccination program.’



Child immunisation vaccination



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