THE Federal Government has announced it will spend $5.5 million to encourage parents to vaccinate their children, particularly on the Gold Coast where immunisation rates remain amongst the lowest in Queensland.
The “Get the Facts about Immunisation” campaign was launched at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital today.
While more than 93 per cent of five-year-old’s are fully vaccinated in Australia, immunisation rates remain low in some parts of the country, including on the Gold Coast where rates are as low as 83.7 per cent in some parts.
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Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Federal Member for McPherson Karen Andrews said the Government was making it easier for parents to “Get the Facts” on childhood vaccinations.
“Immunisation rates in Australia are already high, with over 93 per cent of five-year-old children fully vaccinated. But there are some areas where the immunisation rate is too low.”
“Some areas in the southern Gold Coast have immunisation rates as low as 87.3 per cent per cent.
“It is these areas of low coverage which pose risks to the community, especially to people who can’t be vaccinated, like newborns and those with medical reasons,” Mrs Andrews said.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the government will use child care centres and social media to target the new campaign to parents in problem areas, including on the Gold Coast.
“Research has shown that when people are fully informed about the benefits of vaccination, they are more likely to vaccinate,” Minister Hunt said.
“Stories of parents losing their young children to these horrible diseases are simply heartbreaking,” Minister Hunt said.
“I would like to thank the Hughes and McCaffery families, who shared their heart breaking stories as part of the campaign.”
Riley Hughes and Dana McCaffery were both only a month old when they died of a vaccine-preventable disease.
They were both too young to be vaccinated, so like all other newborns, relied on the rest of the community being vaccinated to offer protection.
The new campaign also features Immunologist and 2006 Australian of the Year, Professor Ian Frazer. His credible, evidence-based information about childhood immunisation is one of the new campaign’s great strengths.
“Ensuring parents are fully informed about immunisation is vital in ensuring we increase the rates of immunisation across Australia in the 0 to 5 age group,” Professor Frazer AC said.
“Australia has a strong immunisation record which has seen a reduction in disease in this country, however we still see cases of disease outbreaks, particularly in areas of low immunisation coverage, so it’s important immunisation rates are as high as possible.
“Vaccines work to protect children against being infected by these diseases.
“A parent will never know when their child may come into contact with someone who has got one of these infections, so the best way to protect children from these diseases, is to make sure they’re fully immunised.”
You can find out more information about the campaign by visiting www.immunisationfacts.gov.au