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Child immunisation rates rise, but significant variation remains across the country


Paul Hayes


22/03/2018 12:28:36 PM

Australia’s child immunisation rates have continued to improve but remain short of the national target, new research from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has revealed.

RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel believes it is very concerning that more than 20,000 Australian children are not fully immunised.
RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel believes it is very concerning that more than 20,000 Australian children are not fully immunised.

The new Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW) Immunisation rates for children 2016–17 shows that 93.5% of five-year-old Australians were fully immunised in 2016–17. While this is an increase from 92.9% in 2015–16 and 90% in 2011–12, its remains below the national target of 95% and represents a total of 20,524 Australian children who are not fully immunised.
 
‘The increasing rates of immunisation are encouraging, but the fact more than 20,000 Australian children are not fully immunised remains very concerning,’ RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel told newsGP. ‘Vaccines are one of the most effective and life-saving interventions in modern medicine and it is vital that as many Australians as possible are vaccinated.’
 
All Primary Health Network (PHN) areas achieved an immunisation rate of at least 90%, ranging from 96% in Western NSW to 90.6% in North Coast (NSW) and Perth North. However, variation in rates were found to exist across local areas, from 98% in Tumut-Tumbarumba (NSW) and Broken Hill & Far West (NSW) to 77.5% in Adelaide City.
 
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged five were found to have a higher national immunisation rate of 95.7%, but a wider variation across PHN areas, from 98% in the Nepean Blue Mountains (NSW) to 89.8% in Western Victoria.
 
An immunisation rate of around 90–95% is required in order for herd immunity to effectively stop the spread of disease.
 
‘Despite the majority of Australian children being immunised, it’s important that we don’t become complacent. We need to maintain high immunisation rates to protect the vulnerable groups in our community,’ AIHW spokesperson Tracy Dixon said.
 
Detailed immunisation results for Australian children aged one, two and five across three levels of geography, as well as results for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, are available at www.myhealthycommunities.gov.au



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