Brisbane’s well-heeled inner city suburbs have recorded some of the lowest vaccination rates in Australia.
According to recently published Federal Health Department data reported by the Courier Mail, inner city Brisbane suburbs, including West End, South Brisbane, Highgate Hill, New Farm and Fortitude Valley have vaccination rates as low as 84.35 per cent for children aged 24-27 months – much lower than the State average immunisation rate of 90.63 per cent for two year olds.
Moreover, the Sunshine Coast recorded two of the six lowest regions for childhood vaccination in Australia. Notably, Maroochydore recorded the lowest vaccination rate in the 24-27-month-old age group, at 81.97 per cent, while Nambour had the lowest vaccination rate for children aged 12-15 months, at 85.53 per cent.
In response to these figures, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has voiced their concern, given ‘herd immunity’ can only be reached when 95 per cent of the population is vaccinated.
Speaking to the Courier Mail, AMA Queensland General Practice spokesman, Dr Richard Kidd said the anti-vaccination movement had a significant network in Brisbane, and some parents were turning to “Dr Google” for advice on immunisation.
“Inner-Brisbane areas, you would think … would be higher socio-economic groups and more well- informed, but sadly, this is the group we’ve seen influenced by the anti-vaccination groups,” said Dr Kidd.
Further speaking with Channel 7 Brisbane, Dr Kidd expressed his concern that people are forgetting vaccine-preventable diseases can actually prove deadly for children.
“People have forgotten, but these preventable diseases that we vaccinate for, are actually quite deadly and some of them will kill one child in 10,” Dr Kidd said,
This plunge in vaccination rates is raising concerns about the community’s lack of awareness about the seriousness of various preventable infectious diseases. With the rise of social media consumption, including Google, widespread anti-vaccination messages are proving a major concern to healthcare providers.
The Federal Government has weighed in on the debate, launching a $5.5 million public health campaign designed to encourage parents to vaccinate their children against infectious diseases.
In a bid to address Queensland’s low childhood vaccination rates, and to continue to encourage parents to vaccinate their children, the Federal Budget, delivered last night (May 9, 2017), will penalise parents who choose not to vaccinate their children, by reducing their tax benefits by $28 per fortnight, commencing July 2018.
Federal Health Minister, The Hon. Greg Hunt MP said last week that reducing fortnightly payments, instead of withholding the end-of-year supplement, will serve as a constant reminder to parents to vaccinate their children against preventable diseases.
With the potential to save millions of lives, and curtail many unwanted infectious diseases, we, at VIVA! Communications, are in full support of the Federal Government’s call for parents to vaccinate their children to promote herd immunity.
So what are your thoughts on Queensland’s low childhood vaccination rates and the Federal Government’s initiative to increase childhood vaccination? We’re keen to hear from you.