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9 June 2014

Immunise your children now before they start school in 2015

The Department of Health is reminding parents of children who are starting school next year to ensure their immunisations are up to date, with enrolments for kindergarten or pre-primary closing on 25 July 2014.

Dr Paul Effler of WA Health's Communicable Diseases Control, says that immunisation is the best way to protect children against preventable diseases.

"It is important for your child to have received all of their childhood vaccinations before starting school to make sure they stay healthy and prevent the spread of disease to classmates.

"An immunisation rate of around 95 per cent is necessary to effectively prevent outbreaks of highly infectious diseases like measles," Dr Effler said.

The childhood immunisation program currently includes vaccinations against 16 vaccine preventable diseases, including 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.

Parents enrolling their young children for the first time in kindergarten or pre-primary must provide a copy of their child's immunisation history statement at the time of enrolment. The statement is available by contacting the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register.

Dr Effler said that parents in Western Australia could get the childhood vaccines provided for free through the National Immunisation Program – a joint initiative between the State and Commonwealth Government. Parents should check with their provider to see if an administration fee applied, but many providers bulk bill for childhood vaccinations.

"Parents who are unsure about their child's vaccination history can visit the Medicare Australia website to get a record of past vaccinations."

To find out where you can get vaccinated or for more information on immunisation programs and starting school visit the Healthy WA website (external link).

Media contact: (08) 9222 4333

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