Dr Rod Day is happy about Gympie's immunisation rate being above the national average.
Dr Rod Day is happy about Gympie's immunisation rate being above the national average. Greg Miller

Gympie vaccination rate above national average

DESPITE recent research revealing teenage vaccination rates have dropped in Australia, the Gympie region is on track to record its highest rate of immunisation yet.

New research among Australian parents has revealed the majority of Australian parents (55.8%) are not aware the scheduled vaccinations are available in secondary school.

The research, which compared the immunisation views of parents of teens with parents of infants (aged 0 - 5 years), revealed nearly half of parents with infants considered immunisation one of their top three concerns for their child.

This focus shifted dramatically among parents of teens (17.5%), with priorities turning toward education (58.4%), school/cyber bullying (48.7%), and overall emotional wellbeing and happiness (61%).

Gympie regional medical officer for health and supervisor of the School Based Vaccination program in this region, Doctor Rodney Day, said this week after recently receiving consent forms back from Year 7 and 8 school students, the numbers in the region are looking very good.

The school based vaccination program offers vaccines to children in early secondary grades and commonly includes vaccines for chickenpox, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and human papilloma virus (HPV).

The program is government funded as part of the National Immunisation Program, which means children can receive the vaccines free of charge.

Dr Day said ensuring parents are notified about the program so they can give consent is vital to its success.

He said while they have worked with schools and principals to advertise the importance of parents being aware of vaccination dates, parents need to be proactive.

"It really does come down to parents being aware the students are bringing home consent forms and making sure they ask their children about it. Sometimes kids will be devious enough to say 'we won't show it to Mum or Dad so we don't get a needle,' but we are slowly seeing the numbers rising which is great," he said.

Dr Day has attributed the growth in numbers to the Federal Government's introduction of the No Jab, No Pay legislation.

If children do miss out on receiving their vaccines as part of the school based program at high school, they can contact the Channon Street Medical Centre to receive the vaccine free of charge as part of the program.