The western suburbs of Sydney have among the lowest rates of immunisation in Australia, while affluent suburbs throughout Sydney are still failing to meet the government target.
The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that the latest data from the National Health Performance Authority shows that in areas of intrenched anti-vaccination sentiment, there has been little change in four years.
Immunisation rates across Australia, however, have improved between 2013 – 2015 overall. The immunisation rate among one-year-olds alone has risen from 90.4 per cent to 91.3 per cent.
Brunswick Heads on the NSW North Coast had the lowest rate of immunisation in Australia, with just 73.3 per cent of one-year-olds immunised, followed by Parramatta and Harris Park, where the immunisation rate was 75.8 and Katoomba, Leura and Medlow Bath, with 76.8 per cent.
In a recent interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Diane Watson from the National Health Performance Authority said the risk posed by low immunisation rates correlated to poor levels of immunity and parents should be concerned if they live in these low immunisation areas.
“We’re starting to see improvements in immunisation rates in some communities but we still see communities where immunisation rates are not high enough to ensure that disease can’t spread,” Dr Watson said, “For one-year-olds, rates can be as high as 98 per cent but can be as low as in the 70s and those would be the communities in which children are the most vulnerable.”
Across Australia, 1200 postcodes did not meet the national immunisation target for 95 per cent of children to be immunised.
Dulwich Hill had one of the highest immunisation rates in Australia, with 97.3 per cent of one-year-olds immunised.
National Centre of Immunisation Research director Peter McIntyre said pockets of anti-vaccination attitudes in places such as the North Coast of NSW and south-east Queensland had kept immunisation rates low in those places and this had barely changed.
Programs such as a drive to boost immunisation provided by the Government, had improved the immunisation rate overall, Professor McIntyre said.
“About three times as many people have not got all the vaccines they’re supposed to, and in almost all these cases it’s problems with access to services, large families, single parent families, all the things that make it difficult to get to a clinic.”
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