A government report released last month showed that immunisation rates in our region are amongst the highest in Australia but I was most pleased that we have significantly closed the gap on immunisation among the Aboriginal childhood community.
With 97.5% of five year old Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander children in our region fully immunised, we are placed second among all Primary Health Networks.
The Australian Institute of Health & Welfare report, Healthy Communities: Immunisation Rates for Children 2015-16, shows that NBMPHN region exceeded all the national average childhood immunisation rates. 94.2% of one year old children, 91.3% of two year old children and 94.7% of five year old children are fully immunised. However, this is just short of the government’s aspirational target set in 2014 for 95% for all children fully immunised so there is still more work ahead.
While overall the region is doing well, there are still areas where immunisation rates are potentially too low to prevent the outbreak of disease. The upper-Blue Mountains had some of the lowest rates of fully immunised children where only 75.8% of 2 year olds and 81.4% of 5 year olds are vaccinated.
Many local agencies including NBMPHN, the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District, local GPs and community health staff have worked hard to improve childhood immunisation rates in the region.
NBMPHN’s immunisation team has played a vital role working with GPs and practice staff to ensure they are skilled in the software that helps them to better utilise the Australian Immunisation Register that enables them to ensure all parents stay up to date with their children's vaccinations.
The Healthy Communities report examines immunisation rates across Australia’s 31 Primary Health Network (PHN) areas and the variations depending on where people live.