Jabs a family affair
WITH school returning soon, health officials are reminding North Coast parents it is important to make sure the whole family's immunisations are up to date.
While vaccination rates are around 90-91% across Australia, the North Coast has "pockets of communities" where rates are as low as 50-60%.
Nurse supervisor at Goonellabah Medical Centre, Sue Harty, said immunisation of children was important, not simply for the single child's safety.
"It gives them personal protection, and it also gives them protection within the family, while also building herd immunity in the community," she said.
Herd immunity refers to resistance to the spread of a disease in a group because there a few or no vulnerable members, making transmission from an infected member unlikely.
"In this area we have a huge prevalence of whooping cough," Mrs Harty said.
"In the last 20 years, it's been shown that adults need a booster (for whooping cough) around 10 years after their last vaccine."
Guy Parker and his wife Skye Kelly were taking their four-year-old son Elijah to have his four-year immunisations yesterday afternoon, ready for the year ahead at day care.
Mr Parker said they'd been immunising Elijah on schedule since his birth and they wouldn't have it any other way.
"It's for his own protection, and why wouldn't you vaccinate them?" Mr Parker said.
Call the Australian Child Immunisation Register Help Line 1800 653 809 or go online to immunise.health .gov.au.
- Babies and toddlers' immunisations: 2, 4, 6 12 and 18 months of age
- Pre-schoolers' immunisations: three and a half years of age
- These include measles/mumps/rubella vaccination: 12 months and three and a half years of age
- Immunisation against flu is recommended for all children
- In their first year of secondary school, children will be offeredthe HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccine
- All children with no history of chicken pox disease or vaccination will be offered varicella (chicken pox) vaccine at secondary school
SOURCE: Medicare Local North Coast