News - immunisation against measles
21 July 2014
Director of Tropical Public Health Unit (Cairns) Dr Richard Gair has urged people to get immunised after two confirmed cases of measles in July.
The call comes following the release of data that shows the Cairns and Hinterland region has the third worst immunisation rate for one-year-old children in Queensland.
On July 20, Sophia Joy Leszczewicz celebrated her first birthday, today she will be immunised against Meningococcal C, measles, mumps and rubella at the Cairns North Community Health facility.
Sophia’s mum Ellie Howard said she always made sure that her daughter’s vaccinations were kept up to date.
“I always try and do it on the day or the day after,” she said.
“We were vaccinated as kids and it was just something that you always did. The main reason I make sure it is done on time is for that extra bit of security over the health of my daughter.”
The Cairns and Hinterland has a rate of 90.3 per cent fully immunised for 12 month old children from a cohort of 3427.
Despite nine out of 10 children being up to date with their immunisation in the region, Dr Gair said a high rate of immunisation is needed in the Far North.
“An immunisation rate of more than 90 per cent is strong but it could be better and it means that we have more than 300 children who are vulnerable to attracting a range of diseases,” he said.
“Vaccinations are the best and most effective way of protecting people from infectious and potentially deadly diseases such as measles.
“These diseases are much more prevalent in places such as Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Indonesia and Vietnam. Of the 51 confirmed measles cases Queensland this year 25 have been acquired overseas.
“Given the proximity of these countries to the Far North, and the flow of people between these areas, the risk of contracting these diseases is much greater.”
Rural Immunisation Outreach Program Nurse Jennifer Pascoe, who will be giving young Sophia her jabs on the day, said it was vital that children not only got immunised but did so on time.
“Getting these vaccinations on schedule is important because if it is missed it puts children at risk of not having protection against these preventable diseases,” she said.
“A lot of the time I have parents come in months after their child was supposed to be vaccinated who are unaware of how important it is to get immunised on time.”
The State Government last week launched a major Queensland Health childhood immunisation campaign, What’s your date to vaccinate?
The campaign supports the department’s goal to have 95% of all Queensland children fully immunised at one, two and five years of age.
The first phase of the campaign focuses on the importance of vaccinating ‘on time’ and is supported by a smartphone app, VacciDate.
The app is free to download and will send notifications when children are approaching a due date for a vaccination, store immunisation records and provide a direct prompt to call the family GP to make an appointment.
The Cairns and Hinterland region is lagging behind the State Government immunisation goal in all age groups. For two-year-olds the region has a 93 per cent uptake while 91.7 per cent of five-year-olds have been fully immunised.
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