The number of Australian children with full immunisation has reached a record level, with nearly 95 per cent vaccinated against deadly diseases, according to the latest figures from the Department of Health.
New data from the March quarter indicates national immunisation rates for five-year-olds were 94.78 per cent, up from 94.67 per cent in the December quarter.
Meanwhile, the coverage rate for five-year-old Indigenous children overtook the national figure at 96.66 per cent.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said that immunisation saves lives, making it crucial to continue promoting the benefits of vaccines.
“The latest figures show that the vast majority of parents are hearing the message about the benefits of vaccinations and I am delighted that our public health campaigns and our immunisation programs are protecting all Australians,” Mr Hunt said in a statement on Sunday.
These new statistics place Australia in the lead internationally, with the country’s vaccination rates for children now far outstripping the global coverage of 85 per cent.
The number of Australian children aged one and two years old who have been fully immunised has also increased since 2008, with national coverage rates standing at 94.14 per cent and 91.15 per cent respectively as of March 2019.
While the percentage for two-year-olds appears to have dropped from 92.69 per cent in 2008, this is due to the changes in the criteria for measuring full immunisation, with more vaccines included in the assessment since December 2014 and March 2017, according to the Department of Health.
Most states and territories in Australia had similar coverage rates to the national average. The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) topped the figures for full immunisation of one- and two-year-olds (95.73 per cent and 93.43 per cent), while Victoria and Tasmania had the highest coverage rates for five-year-olds at 95.67 per cent and 95.62 per cent respectively.
Earlier this year, Australian pharmacies experienced a shortage in flu vaccines, after unprecedented numbers of people sought to be immunised against the infection.
Katherine O’Chee / firstname.lastname@example.org
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