New plan to crack down on parents in unvaccinated 'hotspots'
Parents with unvaccinated children in ‘immunisation hotspots’ will be targeted in a new plan to crack down on those not up to date with shots.
The Queensland Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said the state government would offer in-home visits to increase vaccination numbers in parts of the Gold and Sunshine coasts where immunisation rates are low.
Parts of the Gold Coast have one of the lowest immunisation rates for one-year-olds in the country, with only 86.2 per cent of children up-to-date.
On the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, 87.2 per cent are vaccinated.
It’s much lower than the vaccination rate for the whole state, which sits at 94 per cent.
“We need to do more to make sure kids are vaccinated,” Mr Miles said in a statement.
Next month Queensland Health clinicians will begin contacting parents of 3850 children on the Gold Coast to check vaccination details.
Parents of 3600 children on the Sunshine Coast will also be targeted.
Those with children needing vaccinations will be linked to a local clinic or immunisation provider or offered an in-home visit or the opportunity to talk about concerns with a health professional.
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The government is hoping to boost immunisation rates among children aged three months to five years by the end of March 2019.
The program, which will cost $1 million, will be reviewed next year to see if it is increasing the rates of immunisation.
“We have to try new things,” Mr Miles said.
“Kids in these areas are at risk of serious illnesses caused by vaccine preventable diseases.
“I’d rather be spending our money and our time on other health needs, and I’d encourage Gold and Sunshine coast leaders to step up and help.
“If you’re a leader in one of these communities, please help by encouraging parents to get their kids vaccinated.”
Victoria currently has the highest rate of fully-immunised five-year-olds in Australia.
According to the Australian Immunisation Register, 95.7 per cent of Victorian five-year-olds are now immunised, the highest rate of all Australian states and territories.
It is also above the 95 per cent immunity target needed to stop the spread of diseases such as measles.