One in 10 Gympie children at risk of killer diseases

ALMOST 10% of Gympie's youngest children are not protected against preventable killer diseases.

ARM Newsdesk analysis of Australian Childhood Immunisation Register data reveals 9.1% of the region's one, two and five-year-olds are not immunised against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, meningococcal, chickenpox and other illnesses.

The region's immunisation rate of 90.9% is 4.1% lower than the national target of 95%.

One-year-olds are the least immunised with 10.3% - 87 of Gympie's 848 Medicare-registered infants - going without their jabs.

Eighty eight - or 9.4% - of the region's 941 five-year-olds have not been immunised and 73 - or 7.7% - of our area's 944 two-year-olds are not protected from childhood diseases.

Medico Dr Rosanne Muller said immunisations saved lives.

"Immunisation is really important for children under the age of five because children in these age groups are very effective spreaders of disease," the Sunshine Coast Public Health Unit acting director said.

She urged parents who were reluctant to vaccinate to talk about the risks with their doctors.

"There are people who have very fixed ideas about it and it's very hard to sway those people," she said.

"The benefits of vaccinations outweigh the risks.

"Vaccines are important because although diseases like measles, diphtheria and polio are much less common, they still exist and outbreaks can cause serious illness and death."

All of the country's chief health officers agreed last year to a national immunisation target of 95%.

The target takes into account children who cannot be immunised for health reasons and is considered the perfect rate to keep diseases at bay.

National Health Performance Authority CEO Dr Diane Watson said the newly-released ACIR data would help authorities better target immunisation strategies for the region.

"What we really want to see now are similar improvements in so many local areas where immunisation rates have remained largely unchanged over the past year," Dr Watson said.

HOW WE COMPARE

THE number and % of children who are fully immunised in the Gympie region.

One-year-olds

Postcode, % immunised, Number immunised, Number not immunised, Number of registered children

4570: 90.8, 435, 44, 479

4650: 88.3, 326, 43, 369

TOTAL: 89.7, 761, 87, 848

Two-year-olds

Postcode, % fully immunised, Number fully immunised, Number not fully immunised, Number of registered children

4570: 91.3, 463, 44, 507

4580: 97.6, NA, NA, NA

4650: 93.4, 408, 29, 437

TOTAL: 92.3, 871, 73, 944

Five-year-olds

Postcode, % fully immunised, Number fully immunised, Number not fully immunised, Number of registered children

4570: 90.4, 479, 51, 530

4580: 87.8, NA, NA, NA

4650: 91.0, 374, 37, 411

TOTAL: 90.6, 853, 88, 941

Totals

% fully immunised, Number fully immunised, Number not fully immunised, Number of registered children

90.9, 2485, 248, 2733

 

**NA: Because of privacy restrictions, data is not available for postcodes with fewer than 26 children registered. 

***SOURCES: National Health Performance Authority Australian Childhood Immunisation Register; Better Health Channel.