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Immunisation rates up for First Nations kids in the south east

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Immunisation rates for Indigenous kids on the Far South Coast are rising. Image courtesy NCIRS.

Parents and local health workers are being congratulated for achieving a 100 per cent vaccination rate for First Nations children at age twelve months and again at five years old, following a comprehensive campaign.

Southern NSW Local Health District Acting Chief Executive Jude Constable said June quarter immunisation rates show a remarkable uptake among Indigenous children in the Southern NSW Local Health District.

“Our high immunisation rates are the direct result of our local strategies, which included working with GPs, community nurses and families, to encourage on-time vaccination of children and arranging catch-up vaccinations for those overdue,” Ms Constable said. “We now have 100 per cent of our one-year-old and five-year-old Aboriginal children fully immunised – well above the national target of 95 per cent.

“Our non-Aboriginal children are also achieving solid numbers with over 95 percent immunisation rates. “The region is clearly seeing the results of the free statewide immunisation program which reminds families to vaccinate on time and boosts coverage rates in schools and Aboriginal communities,” she said.

The NSW Health statewide immunisation program includes:

• Save the Date mobile app and campaign ($5.5 million invested since 2013)

• The Aboriginal Immunisation Health Worker program ($1.3 million annually)

• NSW School Vaccination Program ($4.9 million in 2018-2019)

• Education of general practitioners and training of nurses and midwives. Ms Constable said protecting children from potentially deadly diseases is a key priority for the Health District and we will continue to focus on boosting immunity coverage in our community.

The NSW Government is investing about $130 million in the 2019-20 Immunisation Program budget, including Commonwealth and state vaccines. These include $2.6 million for free flu shots to children up to five years of age and a $1.5 million immunisation and influenza awareness campaign. The NSW Government has committed just over $21 million in 2019-20 for immunisation programs, including $700,000 for immunisation campaigns.