Measles vaccination Photo Che Chapman / Sunshine Coast Daily
Measles vaccination Photo Che Chapman / Sunshine Coast Daily Che Chapman

QLD Government to educate parents on benefits of vaccination

THE Queensland Government will implement a key parliamentary committee recommendation to further educate parents living in regional and remote areas about the benefits of early childhood vaccination.

The Health and Community Services Committee recommended last year the controversial Public Health (Exclusion of Unvaccinated Children from Child Care) Amendment Bill not be passed, but provided three recommendations for the government's consideration.

Committee members expressed concern that if the bill was passed it would result in unintentional consequences, particularly for unvaccinated children living in regional and remote areas where facilities may be limited.

The committee strongly supported the objective of the bill to improve childhood immunisation rates across the state, but were concerned it did not sufficiently respond to the need to balance competing rights and obligations about public health, consent and access to early childhood education and childcare.

However, the committee recommended government embark on implementing a well-planned, multifaceted and ongoing public education campaign about the benefits of childhood immunisation, particularly in localities where immunisation rates are low.

Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said, in the government's response which has been tabled in State Parliament, Queensland Health was developing a highly-visible targeted campaign this year to better communicate the immunisation message to parents.
The campaign will include social media, print and online advertising campaigns as well as direct mail to parents of under-immunised children.

"Desired outcomes of the strategy are that families are well supported to make informed decisions about immunisation and are confident in the benefits that immunisation provides," he said.

"One of the key elements of the strategy is promotional or educational campaigns on the benefits of immunisation.
"Key messages about immunisation and the risks of not immunising will particularly target parents of under-immunised children, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, whose vaccination coverage at 12 months of age is 5% lower than the state average.

"The campaign will also target regions and areas of low coverage and will be implemented across a range of settings, including early childhood and early learning centres and community organisations."