Murray Primary Health Network’s first World Immunisation Week conference came with progress on rates across the health catchment.
The Saturday event at Charles Sturt University was fully booked, with 100 health professionals listening in on the latest update.
Speakers from the Department of Health and Human Services, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, La Trobe University and Albury Public Health led an agenda on government targets, screening and working with refugees.
Murray PHN North East regional manager Richard McClelland said it was significant to have DHHS East Region health director Sandy Austin on the Border.
“It shows they (DHHS) consider immunisation in regional areas as being just as important as in the metropolitan base,” he said.
“Immunisation is still an important public health issue for Australia and we advocate keeping with the schedule for children is paramount for their health.”
Mr McClelland said data on the number of immunised children aged 12 months, two years and five years within the Murray PHN was better than the state average.
“We know our rates across those three age groups are above 90 per cent,” he said.
“For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, rates are slightly under that 90 per cent mark.”
Mr McClelland said Albury-Wodonga Aboriginal Health Service chief executive David Noonan had reported a positive trend in rates locally.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the Murray are just under the 90 per cent, but he’s reporting in the local context is that it is above 90 per cent,” he said.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data for 2015 shows in Albury, 95.5 per cent of all five-year-olds were immunised, with 93.4 the rate for the Murray PHN, a slight increase on 2014.
In the area classified ‘Wodonga-Alpine’, 93.3 per cent of all five-year-olds were immunised, and in Wangaratta-Benalla, 93.5 per cent.
Mr McClelland said professional development with nurse immunisers and pharmacists would continue.
“We need to continue to work on the 10 per cent gap, at the PHN, commonwealth and state government levels,” he said.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt announced a $5.5 million campaign to encourage parents to get their children vaccinated as part of World Immunisation Week.