While Ballarat’s immunisation rates have remained steady for young children, outlying areas have seen significant drops in those who are fully-vaccinated.
Within the Ballarat zone there were slight drops in one and five-year-olds fully vaccinated between 2012-2013 and 2014-2015.
The proportion of one-year-old children receiving all their vaccinations dropped by three per cent to 90.3 in that period, the largest decrease. Fully-vaccinated two-year-olds went up 0.2 per cent to 94.2.
The area including Ballan, Creswick and Daylesford saw a sharp drop between 2013-14 and 2014-15. All age groups went down but two-year-olds had the most significant decrease, going from 92.8 per cent to 85.7 per cent.
Medical adviser for Western Health Primary Network Dr Jane Opie said overall the health region was doing well.
“(Western Victoria) is seventh out of 31 (for fully-immunised five-year-olds), in terms of out performance nationally,” she said.
Dr Opie said the lower proportions in the Daylesford-focused area was concerning but picked up some positives.
“That’s obviously of concern, when we see pockets of falling vaccination rates. (But) if anything, the vast majority of change has been positive.”
While five and two-year-olds are less immunised in that area, there was an increase in babies getting vaccinated.
Both state and federal governments have recently brought in policies to encourage parents to vaccinate their children.
The Turnbull government has stopped Family Tax Benefit A supplement for people whose children are not fully vaccinated and the Andrews government has blocked parents from enrolling children who are not fully vaccinated in child care and kindergarten.
Dr Opie said while the rusted-on anti-vaxxers would not be shifted by these policies, they would be helpful for others.
“It applies more to people who might be late getting their kids vaccinated and they need a little bit of a nudge at times,” she said.
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