New push to improve jab rates
New push to improve jab rates

WA doctors are being sent "traffic light" report cards showing how many toddlers in their suburbs are not immunised, in a bid to lift flagging rates.

The mail-out to GP surgeries and child-health clinics was launched yesterday by the committee set up to improve the State's immunisation rates.

It uses maps to highlight good and poor performing suburbs for vaccinated 12 to 15-month-olds. The "Strive for 95" Health Department-backed campaign aims to lift immunisation rates from as low as 63 per cent to 95 per cent.

The maps list Osborne Park, East Fremantle, Fremantle, Parkerville and Stoneville as "red" suburbs, managing vaccination rates of only 63 to 75 per cent.

Suburbs such as Mosman Park are in the next worst tier with 76 to 80 per cent.

Regional black spots include Augusta, Margaret River and Denmark.

Although figures this week showed 4267 WA children aged under seven had been registered on the national immunisation register by "vaccine-refuser" parents, Australian Medical Association WA president Richard Choong said there was a broader issue of parents not having children vaccinated because of complacency or perceived lack of time.

He said the report cards put some onus on doctors and other vaccine providers to track how children in their own suburbs were faring and do something about it.

"We're trying to say to people like GPs that it's their responsibility, too, and not just that of the patients who come in their doors," he said.

"There is all this data, but Dr Joe Average doesn't have it, and this is a very personalised approach to the practice so doctors can see how their own suburbs are going compared to others."

Communicable disease control medical co-ordinator Paul Effler said vaccine providers were the best source of information for parents, and if they knew immunisation rates in their local community they might be more motivated to educate patients.

"The more individuals are protected, the more protection we have for all children, including those who have medical conditions which means they can't be vaccinated themselves and have to rely on others to be vaccinated so they can be indirectly protected," he said.

The West Australian

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