Region's immunisations rates steady, Australian Institute of Health data shows

VACCINATIONS: Stawell and Ararat's immunisation rates are sitting around the nation's average- a positive sign parents in the region understand the importance of vaccinations.

VACCINATIONS: Stawell and Ararat's immunisation rates are sitting around the nation's average- a positive sign parents in the region understand the importance of vaccinations.

The region’s immunisations rates are sitting near the national average, according to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data.

Stawell’s vaccination rates for one year olds was 93 per cent in 2015-16.

About 87 per cent of two year olds were fully vaccinated and 92 per cent of five year olds.

In Ararat, 96.8 per cent of five year olds were vaccinated, one of the highest rates in the region. 

The Australian average is 93 per cent, but has suffered some drops in rates due to parents opting out of vaccinations over perceived fears of the risks involved.

But Stawell Regional Health chief executive Liz McCourt said immunisation is a quick and easy way to ensure the community keeps children and others safe from preventable illnesses. 

“Immunisation has single-handedly reduced the number of deaths from diseases that are preventable, particularly in children,” she said. 

“We have all been in older cemeteries and seen the number of children who have tragically died before reaching five years of age of diseases that are preventable with vaccination.

“The diseases of diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (called pertussis) caused great losses to families, and polio greatly impacted on people’s quality of life.

“Deaths from these diseases are now extremely rare in Australia, and polio is only seen in developing worlds.”  

Stawell mother Jessica Jones suffered from whooping cough when she was in year 11 at school and said she used this experience as motivation to vaccinate her children.

“I have three kids and they are all immunised,” she said.  

“I had whooping cough in year 11 and from experience I know that it is better to be immunised.

“Whooping cough is terrible and at an even younger age it would be much more difficult for them to cope.” 

Ms Jones said she could not understand the reasons behind neglecting to vaccinate children. 

“I would rather them healthy than not,” she said. 

“And if parents are not choosing to immunise their kids they are taking more risks through that option.”

Immunisation has single-handedly reduced the number of deaths from diseases that are preventable, particularly in children. - Liz McCourt

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