Vac strat­egy ‘will cut risks’

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By JON BAS­SETT

THE Health Depart­ment will make it a pri­or­ity to raise western sub­urbs child vac­ci­na­tion rates.

WA Health Min­is­ter John Day launched the five-year WA Im­mu­ni­sa­tion Strat­egy re­cently and said there seemed to be a para­dox where in some cases, those more af­flu­ent thought it less nec­es­sary to vac­ci­nate.

In 2014-15 the na­tional im­mu­ni­sa­tion rate in one-year-olds was 91.3 per cent, but 88.5 per cent in Cottes­loe and Pep­per­mint Grove.

The sub­urbs’ rates were 78.6 per cent for two-year-olds (na­tion­ally 89.2 per cent) and 85.9 per cent for five-year-olds (92.2 per cent).

It was 91.3 per cent for one-yearolds, 88.8 per cent for two-year-olds and 89.9 per cent for five-year-olds in Balga that year.

Sim­i­lar fig­ures lower than the na­tional av­er­age were recorded in Su­bi­aco and City Beach, de­spite more than 98 per cent of par­ents sup­port­ing child im­mu­ni­sa­tion in WA.

“Of­ten the rea­sons given not to vac­ci­nate are sim­ple ones, such as not hav­ing enough time or re­sources to get to the doc­tor, or not be­ing re­minded it’s due,” Depart­ment of Health chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer Tarun Weera­man­thri said.

Whether vac­ci­na­tion rates of up to 10 per cent lower than the na­tional av­er­age posed to threat to wider so­ci­ety may not be mea­sure­able, he said, but the strat­egy’s goal of 95 per cent would greatly re­duce any risk.

The strat­egy pro­motes 16 free vac­cines, more mid­wife train­ing, new moth­ers get­ting SMS re­minders of vac­ci­na­tion dates, and par­ents en­cour­aged to ask if sons and daugh­ters were at risk from un­vac­ci­nated chil­dren of friends and par­ents.

North Perth par­ent Rhiannon Ap­kar­ian had her daugh­ter Takota (6 weeks) im­mu­nised for the first time last week.

“My mes­sage to other mums is to get your baby im­mu­nised, even if you are late,” she said. “See your child health nurse and catch up, be­cause we do live in the lucky coun­try where we can have vac­ci­na­tions and pre­vent se­ri­ous dis­eases.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d455849

Rot­tnest Is­land Vis­i­tor Cen­tre man­ager Adam Mor­ris reck­ons the is­land gets more do­mes­tic vis­i­tors than other WA tourist hubs.

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