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Kids off to kindy? Make a date to vaccinate!

Sending children off to kindergarten can often be a nervous time for parents. However, knowing your child is up-to-date with their immunisations can provide real peace of mind.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said a child’s immunisations at four years of age were particularly important to boost immunity against serious diseases.

"The routine childhood vaccinations for children four years of age aim to protect against serious diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough," Dr Young said.

"Children can also be immunised and protected against measles, mumps and rubella if the child has not already had two doses of measles-mumps-rubella vaccine."

Dr Young said it was a good idea for parents to review their child’s vaccination dates when beginning kindy to make sure they are up-to-date or know when they are due for their next vaccination."

"In fact, some school or childcare providers may require parents to provide vaccination records. If your child is not up-to-date with their vaccinations, they may be excluded from attending school or childcare if there is an outbreak of certain vaccine preventable diseases, meaning they miss out on valuable learning time.

"The immunisation schedule can be hard to stay on top of, especially as there is a big gap in the schedule from 18 months to four years so vaccination may not be at the forefront of a parent’s mind.

"Children can actually be vaccinated from three years six months if their parents wish."

Dr Young said the Queensland Immunisation Strategy established a childhood immunisation target of 95 per cent, which was needed to prevent the transmission of highly contagious diseases in our communities.

"Queensland Health gathers and now publishes data on childhood immunisation rates showing the percentage of Queensland children fully vaccinated at one, two and five years of age," Dr Young said.

"As at the fourth quarter of last year, just over 92 per cent of five year-old Queensland children were fully immunised. 

"We are short of the 95 per cent target but we are getting there."

Dr Young said there were a lot of myths out there but it’s important for parents to know the facts about immunisation.

"Immunisation is extremely important and highly effective at preventing serious and life threatening infectious diseases," she said.

"If parents decided to research immunisation, they should be aware of misguided and misleading information.

"The best people to speak to are vaccine service providers such as those at a community health centre or your doctor.

"It’s also important the immunisations are given on time or as close as possible to the due date in accordance with the Queensland immunisation schedule.

"Children are not fully protected if their vaccination is overdue, even if they have been up to date in the past."

Dr Young said starting kindergarten was an important milestone in a child’s development and is great preparation for primary school.

"At such an important stage of their lives, it is vital that our kids are protected against serious illness and disease. We want to protect them in the best way possible.

"A great way to keep up to date is by using the free ‘VacciDate’ app which sends appointment reminders and records the immunisation history of every child in your family."

For further information or to download the VacciDate app visit www.vaccinate.initiatives.qld.gov.au

Last updated: 30 January 2015