ON THE IMPROVE: Vaccination rates in Gympie have increased for the second consecutive year.
ON THE IMPROVE: Vaccination rates in Gympie have increased for the second consecutive year. microgen

Immunisation rates show continued progress

GYMPIE is included in the region that has seen a second consecutive rise in immunisation rates for children, according to the latest figures released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

The 2016-17 results revealed the 1 year and 2 years age brackets in the Central Queensland, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast region achieved a full immunisation rate of 93% and 91.3%, good for a growth of 0.5% and 0.7% respectively.

The 5 years age bracket saw the greatest leap, climbing 1.7% to 93.3% overall, while 2,231 children in the region were not fully immunised.

This result came close to matching the national rate of 93.5%, but ultimately both fell short of the 95% target required to achieve community-wide protection.

Findings from the Primary Health Network (PHN) in the region showed the Gympie-Cooloola section had 465 (92.6%) fully immunised 1-year-olds, 486 (90.5%) 2-year-olds, and 555 (94.2%) 5-year-olds, a similar result to the region as a whole, with 122 out of 1,628 registered kids across the board failing to meet requirements.

PHN Board Chair Dr Peter Dobson said the increasing rates were a "great step in the right direction".

"We are pleased to see that parents aren't falling victim to the misinformation peddled by the anti-vaccination movement," Dr Dobson said.

"Parents are demonstrating that they are educated and informed enough to seek credible sources like their family GP when making important decisions about their children's health."

Dr Dobson said communities in the region "need to remain vigilant and committed to preventing the spread of serious illnesses".

"In our region we are still seeing pockets of preventable diseases such as whooping cough and measles putting vulnerable members of our community at risk.

"These serious illnesses present the greatest risk to pregnant women, older people, those with immune conditions and children who are too young to be immunised.

"We all have a part to play when it comes to preventing these illnesses from devastating our communities."

Recent results published by the AIHW showed 4 in 5 Queensland teens were vaccinated against HPV in 2015-16, revealing a consistency of improving figures falling short of the goal.

"Immunisation rates are rising which is very promising, but there is still a way to go to protect the next generation," said Cancer Council Queensland CEO Chris McMillan.

"Queensland rates still sit below the national average of 80.1 per cent for girls, and 74.1 per cent for boys - with around 1 in 5 still not vaccinated against HPV."

Detailed immunisation results are available at https://www.myhealthycommunities.gov.au/.