Maitland immunisation rate tops nation

Maitland has reported one of Australia’s top immunisation rates with 95.5 per cent of children ­vaccinated across the city and only 46 children not fully immunised.

The National Health Performance Authority report released today shows Hunter Medicare Local includes three of the country’s top 20 areas – Maitland, Lake Macquarie and Great Lakes – with the highest percentages of all children aged five years fully immunised for 2012-2013.

WELL DONE: Maitland has recorded one of the highest immunisation rate in Australia.

WELL DONE: Maitland has recorded one of the highest immunisation rate in Australia.

“Overall, these results are very pleasing. Our region has immunisation rates well above national averages for all groups and there has been a ­positive percentage increase across all groups from 2011-12 to 2012-13,” Hunter Medicare Local CEO Carol Bennett said.

“Perhaps the most pleasing result of all has been that the greatest increases has been in the numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children fully vaccinated at one and five years.”

The consistent immunisation rise has been attributed to strong support from general practice, new laws requiring children to be immunised to enrol in childcare and an increase in the number of four-year-old health checks.

“Immunisation is one the great public health initiatives that has saved thousands of lives, but it is something we must remain vigilant about,” Ms Bennett said.

“Our great results show that we need to maintain our strong ­partnerships with GPs, practice nurses and Hunter New England and continue to target those children who are not vaccinated.

“GPs and practice nurses are best placed to help parents determine which immunisations are needed at each age and if parents are unsure of their child’s status they should visit their GP to check they are up-to-date with all vaccinations.

“It is also important to remind ­parents that if they are planning ­overseas travel many vaccine ­preventable diseases are common in countries that are popular tourist ­destinations for Australians.”