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27 March 2014

WA catching up in immunisation rates

A new report from the National Health Performance Authority (NHPA) shows early childhood immunisation rates are improving gradually in some communities across Western Australia but there is still work to be done to ensure appropriate levels of immunisation are met.

The report, the second on childhood immunisation rates in Australia, uses data from Medicare Locals to measure the immunisation rates of all children aged one, two and five and, for the first time, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination rates for girls turning 15 in 2012.

WA Health's Director of Communicable Diseases Control, Dr Paul Armstrong said although WA's immunisation rates were generally stable or improving, some communities were still falling short of national benchmarks.

"An immunisation rate of around 95 per cent in a community is necessary to effectively prevent epidemics of all types of vaccine-preventable diseases," Dr Armstrong said.

"WA Health is actively pursuing a comprehensive program to increase immunisation coverage in children.";

Increasing vaccination coverage for Aboriginal children and four-year olds are some of the key objectives of the Western Australian Immunisation Strategy launched last year.

Dr Armstrong said it was important that Western Australian parents continued to get their children vaccinated through the childhood immunisation program—a joint initiative between the State and Commonwealth Government as part of the National Immunisation Program.

The childhood immunisation program currently includes vaccinations against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), poliomyelitis, haemophilus influenza type b disease, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella, rotavirus, varicella (chickenpox), meningococcal disease, influenza and pneumococcal disease.

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