Vaccination rates increasing in Australia

24 October 2018

Written by: Natasha Pietrobuono

Childhood vaccinations for five-year-olds Victoria remain as one of the highest in the country.

Victoria has achieved one of the highest childhood vaccination rates in Australia, whilst coverage across the country is also rising.

According to The Age, the Australian Immunisation Register reported that the national immunisation rate for five-year-olds had risen to 94.62 percent this past September.

The rates for Victoria remained higher at 95.48 percent, whilst Tasmania had the highest rate of 95.55 percent coverage.

The data showed that Australia’s immunisation rates were getting closer to the government’s 95 percent coverage target.

However, in some areas approximately one in 10 children remained unvaccinated or had at least missed one vaccine on the National Immunisation Program (NIP), The Age reports.

Despite Victoria’s strong overall numbers, Central Melbourne reported a vaccination rate of just 89.96 percent.

The new data matches reports of dangerously low vaccination rates from March of this year, which found rates as low as 70 to 75 percent for some of Victoria’s inner city suburbs.

Despite this, the overall picture is reassuring, with multiple areas including Darebin South, Whitehorse East, Wodonga, Whittlesea and Ballarat reporting rates about 97 percent.

Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy said the results showed efforts to drive up vaccinations, including the ‘No Jab, No Play’ policy, were effective in quieting vaccine sceptics.

“Vaccination saves lives – the science is crystal clear. We won’t be deterred by those who seek to peddle mistruth and put young Victorians at risk,” she said.

In other states, vaccination rates fell just below the national rate for five-year-olds, with rates of 94.56 percent in NSW, 94.46 in Queensland, 94.44 in South Australia, 93.30 in the Northern Territory, and the lowest rate of 93.15 percent in Western Australia.

The high 95 percent rate target for vaccinations is designed to help protect people who are vulnerable that cannot get vaccinated from illnesses that have the potential to be life-threatening, according to immunisation experts.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the data revealed that a majority of parents were hearing about the benefits of vaccinations.

“There’s still work to do and we must remain vigilant as there are some areas in of the country where child vaccination rates are lower than what we would like them to be,” he said.