Grampians immunisation rates increase

IMMUNISATION rates in children in the Grampians region have increased for all but one age group in 2012-13 compared with the previous year.

A National Health Performance Authority report, released last week, showed immunisation rates for two-year-olds had increased from 94.2 per cent to 94.5 per cent.

The immunisation levels for five-year-olds had increased from 92.5 per cent to 93.1 per cent.

The report showed the rates for one-year-olds had fallen slightly, from 93.7 per cent in 2011-12 to 92.8 per cent.

But the region had the nation’s highest rate of one-year-old Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who were fully immunised.

Grampians Medicare Local spokeswoman Michelle MacGillivray said 96.9 per cent of these children were immunised, compared with the national rate of 85.2 per cent.

She said the report showed the result of the promotion of immunisation in reducing the risk and incidence of disease in the community.

“Immunisation provided by local government area service providers and general practices in our region have continued to provide consistent and accessible services and education in the community on the importance of parents ensuring their children are fully immunised,” she said.

“There is still inaccurate information being sourced from the internet and we encourage people to talk with their health professional, GP, maternal and child health nurse or nurse immuniser to gain a better understanding on the possible implications of not immunising their children.”

Horsham had the highest percentage of fully immunised five-year-olds in the Grampians, with 96.9 per cent.

Ararat had a five-year-old immunisation rate of 94.1 per cent, while Ballarat’s rate was 93.7 per cent.

In February, a State Government report showed Ararat Rural City had an 86.21 per cent immunisation coverage of children aged five in December 2013 – the fourth lowest in the state.

Grampians Medicare Local chief executive Andrew McPherson said the data was inconsistent because the State Government report only focused on Victoria.

“We’re happy with the increase of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal rates, the highest in the country,” he said.

“It’s also a credit to the Aboriginal co-operatives across the region.”

Mr McPherson said there were pockets of resistance to immunisation, but there was little resistance in the Wimmera.

“A lot of resistance seems to be stimulated by misinformation,” he said.

“Immunisation is the most significant health measure of the 21st Century.”

The National Health Performance Authority Report is the first time figures have been tabulated for girls turning 15 who joined in the school-based human papillomavirus program.

The report showed the Grampians rates were 73 per cent, higher than the national average of 70 per cent.

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