IMMUNISATION rates in Ballarat remain steady as new data shows Victoria now has the highest proportion of five-year-olds vaccinated in any state.
Across Victoria, 95.7 per cent of children aged five are fully immunised, up on 95.3 per cent since February, according to the latest figures from the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register.
Ballarat, while still above the state average, has marginally slipped to 97.84 per cent of children protected against diseases prevented by vaccine, like measles, after a record 98.55 per cent earlier this year.
Victorian childhood immunisation rates have been on the rise since No Jab, No Play laws were introduced last year.
The state is clear above the herd immunity target of 95 per cent, which was important to prevent the spread of diseases. Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy said a high vaccination rate helped provide protection for those unable to receive vaccines, including babies or people with medical reasons.
“Immunisation is safe, effective and it saves lives. We’re so glad that more parents than ever before are taking heed of the message and keeping their kids safe,” Minister Hennessy said.
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Hepburn Shire still has one of the state’s lowest immunisation rates at 85.17 per cent. Macedon MP Mary-Anne Thomas, whose electorate covers Hepburn, said it was disappointing the community was again falling below the herd immunity target.
“It shows that our message that vaccinations saves lives isn't getting through to everyone,” Ms Thomas said.
“I will continue to work with local parents and community groups to make sure we encourage people across the region to listen to the science and get their children immunised. These are more than just statistics – this is about protecting local kids from deadly but preventable diseases.”
Parents with questions about immunisation are urged to talk to a general practitioner.
No Jab, No Play rules mean only statements from the national register will be accepted as evidence of immunisation or medical exemption when enrolling a child at childcare or kindergarten.