Hon Kim Hames MB BS JP MLA

Hon Kim Hames MB BS JP MLA

Former Minister for Health; Tourism

    Immunisation rates for WA children on the rise

    6/02/2016 7:00 AM
     
    • WA's immunisation rate for five-year-old children reaches 92.1%
    • Aboriginal immunisation rates exceed those of non-Aboriginal children 

    The latest snapshot of Australia's immunisation rates is good news for Western Australia, with the proportion of fully vaccinated five-year-old children reaching a record high.

     

    Health Minister Kim Hames said the fully vaccinated rate had risen in the December 2015 quarter to 92.1 per cent for all Western Australian children, compared with 90.6 per cent for the quarter ending September 30, 2015.  The figure was even higher at 94.3 per cent for Aboriginal children compared with 91.3 per cent the previous quarter.

     

    "These trends are extremely promising and reflect the enormous amount of work the Department of Health and its immunisation partners have done to boost immunisation rates across the State," Dr Hames said.

     

    "In particular, the rise of immunisation coverage for Aboriginal five-year-old children is a significant achievement, with current rates now exceeding those for non-Aboriginal children."

     

    The Minister said since 2013, the Department of Health had introduced several initiatives to help improve vaccine coverage in Aboriginal children. These included:

    • training and empowering Aboriginal health workers to vaccinate through expansion of the current Aboriginal Health Workers Immunisation Competency Training Program
    • working with Aboriginal community-controlled health services to develop culturally appropriate, community-based programs
    • monitoring vaccination rates and targeting communities and sub-groups with a lower uptake. 

    Increasing immunisation rates in Aboriginal children was a key focus in the State Government's Western Australian Immunisation Strategy 2013-2015.

     

    The strategy identified the need for health care providers to continue to work together to promote immunisation as the best way to protect the health of West Australians.

     

    "There is no question that immunisation is the best form of defence to protect children from up to 16 vaccine-preventable illnesses, including viral hepatitis, diphtheria, tetanus, measles, rubella, mumps, whooping cough and bacterial meningitis," Dr Hames said.

     

    "While these figures show we are moving in the right direction, there is still more work to be done to ensure all Western Australian children are protected and to ensure WA's immunisation rates continue to climb."

     

    Fact File

    • An immunisation rate of about 95% is necessary to effectively prevent outbreaks of highly infectious diseases like measles
    • Childhood vaccinations are provided free through the National Immunisation Program

    Minister's office - 6552 5300