Vaccination: A numbers game that adds up

Related Staff:

Jodie McVernon, Pursuit:WORLD-CHANGING RESEARCH MADE POSSIBLE BY MELBOURNE, 18 November 2016.


Excerpt

Immunisation is widely accepted, but the higher the coverage the safer we’ll all be.

Victorian Health minister Jill Hennessy’s recent disclosure of abusive anti-immunisation messages has brought vaccines back into the headlines.

Clearly, the individuals who spread those messages are not representative of the minority of Australian parents who express concerns about vaccines, many of whom go on to partially or fully immunise their children. Indeed, research suggests that challenges in accessing appropriate health care may contribute more than parental choice to the small fraction of Australian children (less than 1 in 10) who are incompletely immunised.

While stories like this may give the impression that public confidence in vaccines is low, immunisation remains the widely accepted norm in Australia. Nationally, more than 90 per cent of children are fully vaccinated by 12 months of age, a figure that’s remained remarkably consistent since 2003. So why is striving for even higher coverage rates our first listed national immunisation priority?

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