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23 October 2014

GPs alerted to children overdue for immunisations

GPs across Western Australia have been sent a list of those children under 24 months who were overdue for their next scheduled vaccines as part of an initiative to increase childhood immunisation rates across the State.

WA Health issued the statements, generated by the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR), to GPs recorded as the last vaccine providers of the overdue children, and encouraged them to follow up parents and book outstanding vaccinations.

A total of 5,295 children under 24 months were listed in the statements, with an average of 3 overdue children per GP and a maximum of 36.

Dr Paul Effler, from WA Health's Communicable Disease Control, said this targeted approach was part of an ongoing effort to work with immunisation providers to raise immunisation rates in WA.

"GPs are integral to our efforts to follow up parents and remind them of the importance of immunisation. We hope these letters will help by identifying overdue children and also help clean any incorrectly recorded data on ACIR, which can occur, for example, when people move to WA from overseas."

A total of 1,809 letters have been sent to 808 practices, with updated statements planned quarterly. A sheet of frequently asked questions will also be supplied to help GPs provide correct information to ACIR.

The effort follows a mapped immunisation update sent to GPs earlier this year. GPs received a map of their practice's surrounding suburbs with immunisation rates for 12–15 months olds in their area allowing providers to compare their area to the State average.

While immunisation rates for children aged 24–27 months in WA have risen from 90.6% in 2012–13 to 91.0% in 2013–14, they remain below the national average of 92.4%, with some areas still significantly lagging.

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