Tasmania leads childhood immunisation rate improvement as Indigenous immunisation rates soar
Tasmania is leading the country in improving protection for children against vaccine preventable diseases, the latest Australian Immunisation Register data shows.
Since No Jab, No Pay was announced, Tasmanians have taken action to get their children immunised at a dramatically faster rate than the rest of the country, with Tasmanian immunisation rates now above national coverage rates for one, two and five year olds. It has also recorded strong increases in Indigenous coverage rates, with one, two and five year olds all above national rates.
“This is a great result – and a reflection of what the No Jab, No Pay Policy is achieving for the health of our children,” Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter said.
“Australia should be a place where no-one suffers needlessly from vaccine preventable diseases – and this is what the No Jab, No Pay policy is helping to achieve.
“Nationally, the immunisation rate for Indigenous five year olds has increased two times more than the national increase over the past year, while Indigenous one and two year olds have increased 1.5 times more. Given the health issues confronting many Indigenous people and communities, it’s fantastic that immunisation rates for Indigenous children are increasing so dramatically.
“The most significant figure though is that the immunisation rate for Indigenous five year olds has reached 95 per cent. This level is critical to provide what’s known as herd immunity – when large numbers of individuals are immune to disease, chains of infection are disrupted, stopping or slowing the spread of disease. This is vital to protecting young babies who are not yet fully vaccinated and the small number of children who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.”
Since the last quarter, an additional 39,369 children who were not fully immunised at 31 December 2015 now meet immunisation requirements across Australia. This takes to 187,695 the number of children now meeting immunisation requirements who weren’t up to date with their immunisations at the launch of the measure on 1 January this year.
The Minister congratulated parents all around Australia for taking action to ensure their children’s vaccinations were up to date and urged those still yet to do so to take action immediately.
“We all know that preventable diseases like whooping cough can be devastating and deadly and that vaccination is the safest and most effective way to protect children,” the Minister said.
“That’s why the Australian Government is committed to the No Jab No Pay policy.”
Under the No Jab No Pay policy children must be fully immunised, have a valid medical exemption or be on a catch-up schedule if parents are to continue receiving Child Care Benefit, Child Care Rebate and the Family Tax Benefit (FTB) Part A supplement.
National Immunisation Picture -State and territory summary
New South Wales
New South Wales has achieved above national coverage rates for all three Indigenous age groups and nationally for 5 year olds, but maintained results below the national coverage rates for one and two year olds. The Richmond Valley-Coastal region recorded the lowest immunisation coverage rates nationally for one and two year olds (78.8 per cent and 78.5 per cent respectively) and the second lowest rates for five year olds (78.0 per cent).
Victoria has maintained coverage rates above national coverage rates for two and five year olds, but below the national rate for one year olds. Over the past twelve months Victoria has increased coverage for Indigenous one year olds, and is now above the national rate , however remains below Australia wide coverage rates for Indigenous two and five year olds.
The Campaspe and Moira regions recorded the fourth and fifth highest rates nationally for two year olds at 97.6 per cent 97.5 per cent respectively. The Gippsland-East region recorded the second highest result for five year olds, at 98.4 per cent.
South Australia increased coverage rates for two year olds over the last 12 months and is now above the national coverage rate (4.5 per cent increase). South Australia also maintained above national results for Indigenous one year olds, but remains below the national coverage rate for one and five year olds, and Indigenous two and five year olds.
Western Australia’s immunisation coverage rates still lag below the national coverage rate for one, two and five year olds, for both Indigenous and national age groups. Fremantle, in Western Australia recorded the third lowest performing region for two year olds at 79.8 per cent, and the fifth lowest performing region for five year olds at 85.0 per cent. Some regions bucked the trend, with Wheatbelt-South claiming the third highest rate nationally for two year olds with 98.5 per cent, and Esperance claiming the fifth highest rate for five year olds with 98.0 per cent.
The Northern Territory
The Northern Territory has above average rates for Indigenous one year olds, but is below the national average in Indigenous two and five year olds, and national one, two and five year olds. The coverage rate for five year olds has decreased by a quarter of a per cent over the last 12 months.
Background to No Jab No Pay
Under the No Jab, No Pay policy children must be fully immunised, have a valid medical exemption or be on a catch-up schedule if parents are to continue receiving Child Care Benefit, Child Care Rebate and the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement.
The Department of Human Services will check whether an individual claiming the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement is eligible and that their child/ren’s immunisation records are up to date when family assistance payments are balanced following the end of the financial year reconciliation process.
Anyone who has not had their family assistance payments balanced following the end of the 2015-16 financial year can still do so and claim the Family Tax Benefit Part A supplement, as long as their child/ren now meet the immunisation requirements.
Parents can easily check the immunisation status of children under 14 on the Australian Immunisation Register to see whether they meet the immunisation requirements, while children over 14 are able to check the register for themselves.
For more information, go to www.humanservices.gov.au/immunisation.
National immunisation coverage rates – Quarter 3 2015 to Quarter 3 2016
One year olds
Two year olds
Five year olds
Indigenous immunisation coverage rates – Quarter 3 2015 to Quarter 3 2016
One year olds
Two year olds
Five year olds