South-west's childhood vaccination rate among best

CHILDREN in the south-west remain among the most thoroughly immunised in the country, health professionals say. 

New figures have reaffirmed the Great South Coast region as one of the top areas nationwide for children being vaccinated against preventable illnesses such as measles. 

According to this year’s National Health Performance Authority report, the south-west has: 

* The highest percentage of fully-immunised children at five years (95.4 per cent); 

* The highest percentage of children fully immunised at one year (94.5 per cent);

* The highest percentage of girls immunised against HPV (Human Papillomavirus) by age 15 (92 per cent);

* 100 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children fully-immunised at five years.

Great South Coast Medicare Local (GSCML) boss Glenda Stanislaw said the improvements were evidence of the region’s health groups co-operating.

“It really is an example of the way health services work together, rather than doing their own thing,” Ms Stanislaw said. 

“We’ve got the highest rate of secondary schools girls immunised against HPV, which is fantastic.” 

The national percentage of girls aged 15 fully immunised against HPV is 70 per cent. 

Responsibility for vaccination programs falls on local health services as well as councils and schools. 

Ms Stanislaw said the Medicare Local still wanted to improve vaccination rates for two-year-olds — but warned a metropolitan trend of parents away from vaccinations could harm progress if it gains a foothold in the south-west.

“There is a trend in some of the more well-to-do suburbs of parents saying ‘no, I don’t want my child immunised”, Ms Stanislaw said.

“It’s not only disadvantaging the child but also the whole population ... they’re really relying on other parents to immunise their child.” 

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