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Parents urged to check kids’ vaccinations

Sophia ConstantineNorth West Telegraph
Hannah Tomkins being immunised by health nurse Glenda Sullivan.
Camera IconHannah Tomkins being immunised by health nurse Glenda Sullivan. Credit: Cally Dupe.

Parents are being urged to check their children’s immunisations are up to date as they prepare to return to school.

WA Health communicable disease control directorate medical co-ordinator Professor Paul Effler said ensuring immunisations were up-to-date would keep children protected and help stop the spread of diseases in the community.

He said it was a timely reminder to ensure children were protected from preventable diseases.

Data revealed the immunisation rate for five-year-olds in the Pilbara in 2016 was 94.40 percent, and 96.46 per cent the previous year.

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Professor Effler said 91.5 per cent of pre-school aged children were fully immunised Statewide, but at least 95 per cent of children had to be fully immunised to effectively prevent outbreaks of infectious diseases.

He said it was “extremely concerning” some parts of West-ern Australia continued to have immunisation rates up to 10 per cent lower than the 95 per cent target.

“This endangers vulnerable community members because they don’t benefit from the same level of indirect protection against highly infectious diseases like chickenpox or measles when compared to areas with higher rates of childhood immunisation,” he said.

He said classrooms were an area where diseases could spread quickly between children who were not fully vaccinated.

“Parents who are unsure about their child’s immunisation history can visit the Medicare Australia website to get a record of past immunisations,” he said.

Under the Australian Government’s “no jab, no pay” policy, which began last year, children must be fully vaccinated for parents to be eligible for family assistance payments.

More information on immunisation programs and starting school is available at healthywa.wa.gov. au/immunisation.

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