Immunisation helps protect individuals and the community generally against potentially serious diseases such as measles, polio, tetanus and whooping cough (pertussis).
Although the great majority of children in Australia are immunised, it is important to maintain high immunisation rates to reduce the risk of outbreaks of these and other diseases recurring.
Australian governments and experts endorse achieving high immunisation rates to protect individuals and those not immunised or too young to be immunised. States and territories are expected to maintain or improve their existing respective immunisation rates under the terms of the National Partnership Agreement on Essential Vaccines agreed in 2009.
This report allows the public, clinicians and health managers to see for all children, and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, the percentages fully immunised and how those percentages differ across the country. It reports these immunisation rates for each of the 61 geographic areas covered by the new network of Medicare Locals, which have been established to improve the responsiveness, coordination and integration of local health services.
These data were sourced from the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR). It is important to note that these data cover the period from July 2011 to June 2012. As Medicare Locals were still being set up during this time, this report establishes a baseline for comparisons that in future will help clinicians, health managers and others to assess whether improvements are occurring.
Where possible, the results are broken down into geographic areas that are smaller than Medicare Local catchments – more than 300 statistical areas and more than 1500 postcodes.
The report shows the percentages of children who were fully immunised at 1 year, 2 years and 5 years in each Medicare Local catchment, and in the smaller units of geography where applicable. Also reported are the numbers of children in each area who are not fully immunised.
The report’s findings can be considered in the context of three broad themes:
- The percentages of children fully immunised and variation between Medicare Local catchments, and between age groups
- The numbers of children who are not fully immunised in each Medicare Local catchment
- Lower immunisation rates among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.