Region hits vaccine targets but more work to do
BUNDABERG and surrounding areas are well on their way to fully embracing the jab - with immunisation rates across all demographics continue to climb.
The latest immunisation rates for the Wide Bay region have been released and show the community is reaching above 90% for all immunisation age groups.
Primary Health Network board chair Peter Dobson said that the release of the annual Healthy Communities: Immunisation rates for children in 2015-16 by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare was great news for children across the country.
"Across our whole region there are 27,422 children who are registered and are fully immunised for their age group and only 2,526 who are not up to date with all the immunisations they need to be fully protected,” Dr Dobson said.
"The overall rate of fully immunised five year olds has gone from 90.8 in 2012-13 to 91.6 in 2015-16.
"Additionally 92.9% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are fully immunised at age 5 years old.
Dr Dobson said the Bundaberg community in particular had made great effort to protect everyone by improving immunisation rates over the past year.
"While these rates are short of the national target of 95%, which provides herd immunity to the whole community, it demonstrates the work that is happening to ensure every child is protected,” he said.
"Herd immunity is a critical point at which the most vulnerable members of our community are able to be protected from serious and potentially deadly illnesses.
"By keeping immunisation rates high we are able to protect vulnerable groups, including the elderly, pregnant women, those with immune conditions and babies too young to be immunised.
Dr Dobson said that immunisation remained the safest and most effective way to protect everyone in the community from vaccine-preventable diseases.
"The team at the PHN is working with local communities and immunisation providers across the region to improve immunisation rates for all age groups,” he said.
"This includes programs to help families catch up on any vaccines they may have missed and providing information to families about where they can turn to for safe reliable information.
"There is a lot of misinformation out there.”
Dr Dobson said if you were sitting on the fence or were unsure where your children are in their immunisation schedule, speak to your local GP to get information from a reliable source.