A new report to be released today, reveals that the rates of child immunisation in some parts of Australia are low.
Frighteningly, dangerously low.
While Australia has a generally good vaccination rate (upwards of 90% in most areas), there are certain communities that are falling victim to the spread of misinformation and scare-mongering that suggests vaccinations can actually do more harm than good.
The result? The number of kids who are not vaccinated is far too high and the concentration of non-immunised kids in some parts of the country are enough to contribute to the spread of contagious and potentially deadly diseases.
Upwards of 1 in 5 children (20 percent!) in some Australian communities are not fully immunised, putting them and others in the community at significant risk of whooping cough, measles and meningitis. Terrifying – and outrageous that some in our community are putting others needlessly at risk.
1. The Richmond Valley Coastal region of NSW (which includes Lismore and Ballina), where 17.53% of 1 year olds, 19.69% of 2 year olds and a whopping 21.17% of 5 year olds aren’t fully vaccinated.
2. Fremantle in Western Australia, where 18.3% of 5 year olds and 15.3% of 1 year olds are not fully immunised.
3. Inner city Adelaide, where immunisation is strong in the early years but 21.2% of 5 year olds are not up to date with their vaccination schedule.
4. Suburban Darwin, where only 16.1% of 5 year olds are fully immunised.
5. The Sunshine Coast Hinterland area in Queensland, where 16.3% of 5 year olds aren’t vaccinated.
The high income eastern suburbs of Sydney are also surprisingly high on the list, when it comes to families who aren’t fully immunising their little ones.
By failing to vaccinate their children, parents don’t just put their own children at risk but also other babies, children and adults in the community. Mamamia’s publisher and pro-vaccination campaigner Mia Freedman explains that:
Let’s be very clear. Those who refuse to immunise their children are not just risking their own children’s health but the lives of others in the community. Vaccinations are not perfect – occasionally, those who have been immunised can still contract the disease – but they are the best we’ve got to protect us against incurable diseases.
We all rely on the immunity of others to protect us, particularly those who are too young to be immunised and anyone with an illness that suppresses their immune system (such as cancer). They are our most vulnerable and high levels of immunisation in the community (above 95%) are crucial for their welfare.
Across Australia more than 77,000 children are not fully immunised. And when rates of un-immunised children are high in any particular area, then the chances of an outbreak of a preventable but potentially deadly illness – are also high. As a result, the contents of this report are hugely important – most particularly for parents, families, and children living in the areas where so many children haven’t been vaccinated.