Vaccination rates healthy

VACCINATION rates in the Western NSW Local Health District are on a par with the rest of the state.

Vaccination levels for children aged 0 - 7 sit at 91 per cent, 4 per cent below the Commonwealth target for immunisation rates.

There is still room for improvement in vaccinations levels in the district, according to a medical expert who said the issue needed to be kept continually in focus.

LHD clinical nurse consultant for vaccinations Carol George believes the number of parents vaccinating their children remains high.

“When a newborn comes along we suggest another gift rather than a layette,” Ms George said.

 “The gift of vaccinations so a parent, grandparent or carer is protected, I think, is the most wonderful gift you can give.”

Ms George said vaccinations were easily accessed through a general practitioner.

“Most doctors’ surgeries hold specialised vaccination services,” she said.

Ms George said measles and whooping cough remain at the top of the list of childhood illnesses to be targeted with vaccination.

“It seems that whooping cough remains endemic in our area,” she said.

“In Sydney measles seems to be an issue, but of course with the way people travel around so easily it has the potential to become a problem in our area.”

When it comes to childcare services, Ms George said individual childcare operators had developed their own policies on immunisation.

“These are privately-run facilities and they have their own procedures,” she said.

However, Ms George said babies and children who were not immunised may be excluded from childcare to protect themselves and other children.

The district works closely with immunisation providers  to support immunisation services and provide balanced immunisation information, according to Ms George.

“In the past two months there have been specific immunisation education sessions held by both the Medicare Local and our LHD with specialists from Sydney flying up to ensure all providers have the chance to learn of the latest changes and research,” she said.

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