Rising immunisation rates a win for regional WA
The percentage of children in regional WA who are fully immunised has increased over the past year to a level where immunisation rates in regional WA have now surpassed the national average (Figure 1).
In recent years, regional Public Health Units (PHUs) have prioritised immunisation and introduced a variety of strategies that have been successful in raising immunisation rates. Examples of these are:
- conducting programs, in many of the regional PHUs, that involve monthly follow up of every family with a child who is overdue for immunisation
- regional PHUs providing regular immunisation updates – one region provides a quarterly summary report to all immunisation providers that includes postcode level information on numbers of overdue children and allows comparison between different areas. Other regions run immunisation information days for providers
- regional PHUs introducing more flexibility around immunisation provision, such as immunisation delivery by school health nurses, in after-school clinics and delivery of immunisations in a variety of settings, including the home.
Immunisation rates in the Perth metropolitan area remain approximately 2% below the national average (Figure 2). Coordinated strategies to prioritise and address low immunisation coverage in the metropolitan area are critical. As 81% of metropolitan overdue children received their most recent vaccination from a general practitioner (compared to 45% of children in regional areas), regular follow-up by general practices of children overdue for immunisation is essential to improve immunisation rates in the metropolitan area. Systematic recall of overdue children through appointment letters, telephone calls or SMS is strongly recommended.
Figure 1 – Child immunisation, regional WA
Figure 2 – Child immunisation, metropolitan WA