The Department of Health has released the March 2019 data on childhood immunisation coverage by Primary Health Network (PHN), revealing Western Victoria PHN is leading the nation in childhood immunisation rates.
Western Victoria PHN leads the nation for children aged 12 to 15 months and 24 to 27 months with 96.08 per cent and 93.90 per cent respectively of children in the region being fully immunised.
Western Victoria PHN has also recorded the second highest rate in Australia with 97.11 per cent of children fully immunised between the ages of 60 and 63 months.
Routine childhood immunisations help to protect children against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough (pertussis), polio, pneumococcal disease, meningococcal C disease, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), rotavirus, chickenpox (varicella), measles, mumps and rubella (German measles) and influenza.
Western Victoria PHN Chief Executive Officer, Dr Leanne Beagley, said having your child immunised helps to protect them from the most serious childhood infections and is a requirement by law that immunisations are up-to-date before your child starts childcare and kindergarten, which includes the National No Jab No Pay and Victorian No Jab No Play policies.
“It’s great to have a high rate of childhood vaccinations recorded for the western Victoria region as we know a high number of our children are protected against serious diseases, which can be life threatening,” Dr Beagley said.
“The high rate of immunisations in our region is a result of our hardworking healthcare providers, GPs and nurse immunisers who have been supported by Western Victoria PHN immunisation consultants and practice facilitators.
“As a PHN, we work closely with immunisation providers including primary care and local councils to ensure timely vaccination of children and provide accurate and timely data to the Australian Immunisation Register.
“Western Victoria PHN also has an immunisation program which aims to educate, support and assist providers on all aspects of immunisation. We focus on childhood immunisation to enhance local rates and work to provide quality services.”
The Western Victoria PHN Immunisation Program includes:
- Professional development for immunisation program staff
- Education and support with Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) registration, reporting processes and data transfer
- Immunisation information via HealthPathways and newsletters
- Annual immunisation forums
The most recent immunisation forum was held in Geelong on 27 July 2019 and was attended by more than 100 health care providers from across the western Victoria region.
The Immunisation Forum included a range of guest speakers who spoke on the following topics:
- National and Victorian Immunisation Program update (Includes No Jab No Pay / Play Policies)
- Refugee health and immunisation policy
- Latest enhancements to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR)
- Principles of performing catch-up immunisations (includes workshop activity) Addressing vaccine hesitancy (parent and immuniser)
- Vaccine preventable disease notifications in Victoria (incl Measles)
- Vaccine Allergies includes SAEFVIC
The next immunisation forum will be held in Ballarat on Saturday 19 October.
Families can find out further information on childhood vaccination by speaking with their GP or maternal and child health nurses. To find your closest GP, visit: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/australian-health-services