North East helps state reach herd immunity

KEEP IT UP: Wodonga Council immunisation nurse Pat Last with Steph Martin, 12, at the Trudewind Neighbourhood House immunisation session. Council holds numerous sessions each month for many ages. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE
KEEP IT UP: Wodonga Council immunisation nurse Pat Last with Steph Martin, 12, at the Trudewind Neighbourhood House immunisation session. Council holds numerous sessions each month for many ages. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

One hundred per cent of five-year-olds are fully immunised in the Alpine local government area, the latest Australian Childhood Immunisation Register data shows.

The statistic, achieved by only six LGAs across Victoria, comes as the state hits a record herd immunity target of 95 per cent.

It’s the third-best in Australia behind Tasmania and the ACT.

Murray Primary Health Network medical adviser Wendy Connor said the state’s ‘No Jab, No Play’ laws likely supported the rise from 93 per cent in 2016.

“It’s fantastic, I want to congratulate the areas that have done really well,” she said.

“We need to be aware of being complacent because in order to continue to achieve these rates, we need to continue to ensure all children are immunised.”

In Indigo and Towong 94 per cent of five-year-olds are immunised, and the rate in Wodonga is 98 per cent.

Wodonga Council immunisation co-ordinator Bernadette Kosmina said the majority of parents recognised the importance of immunisations.

“The ‘No Jab, No Play’ law requires all children in early childhood and care services to be up to date with their immunisations, unless they have an approved medical exemption,” she said.

“Immunising your child not only protects you and your family, but other children in the community who can’t be immunised.”

Dr Connor said life could get in the way of keeping up to date with immunisation, but it was important.

“There are families where children aren’t fully immunised on time because they’re just busy,” she said.

“There is a small group who have chosen not to get immunised because of concerns about vaccines.

“We still have outbreaks of whooping cough and measles due to under-vaccination and lack of herd immunity.

“The modern day vaccine is very safe and serious side effects are extremely rare.

“I’ve done a bit of work in East Timor and seeing children die of preventable infectious disease really makes you aware of how far we’ve come and how important this is.” 

Wodonga Council runs regular immunisation sessions and outreach services to Indigo, Towong and Benalla.