Health

Record vaccination numbers still not enough

Perth saw a record number of children vaccinated in 2017.

A Perth GP wants more parents to vaccinate their children even though new data shows a record number of children were immunised in 2016-17.

Leeming GP Dr Graham Farquhar’s comments come as some Perth suburbs are still suffering from poor vaccination records.

In 2016-17, 93.5 per cent of Australian 5 year olds were fully immunised compared to 92.9 per cent in 2015-16 and 90.0 per cent in 2011-12.

But data released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare showed suburbs north of Perth had some of the worst vaccination rates in Australia.

There, only 90.6 per cent of children were vaccinated while Fremantle’s immunisation rate of 84.9 per cent was the worst in the Perth metropolitan area.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare spokesperson Tracey Dixon said it is important people continue to vaccinate their children.

“We need to maintain high immunisation rates to protect the vulnerable groups in our community,” she said.

The new data comes only days after two people were diagnosed with measles in Perth.

Dr Farquhar said all people who have not been vaccinated have the potential to contract the disease.

“Measles has lots and lots of nasty side effects and complications so that’s why we are harping on about getting your child vaccinated,” he said.

WA Health Medical Epidemiologist Dr Gary Dowse said if people developed a cough, runny nose, sore red eyes and a rash within one to three weeks of potential exposure to someone with measles they should stay home and go to the doctor.

“Anyone who thinks they are infected should call ahead and mention their possible contact with measles so they can be isolated when they arrive at the GP surgery or Emergency Department, to prevent infecting other patients and staff,” he said.

Measles is a highly infectious disease spread by coughing and sneezing.

Children receive their first measles vaccination at 12 months, and a booster at 18 months. See the full vaccination schedule here.

You can listen to Dr Farquhar speak more about the attitudes surrounding vaccinations below.

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