Australian immunisation rate for children is world-leading: Greg Hunt

Australia's immunisation rates for five-year-old children against harmful diseases other than COVID-19 has stayed above the 95 per cent herd immunity target for a full year.

The latest figures cement Australia's global reputation as an immunisation nation, Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

"Our world-leading childhood vaccination rates of over 95 per cent for other medical conditions gives us great confidence that families will embrace COVID-19 vaccination for children when they become available in the coming weeks," he said.

Australians embracing vaccination have helped to save lives and protect lives, he added.

In the latest figures released on Tuesday the rates of immunisation coverage for children aged one, two and five has remained consistent over the previous 12 months.

The immunisation program recommends children have shots for 13 different diseases, including whooping cough, diphtheria, tetanus, polio, chickenpox, meningococcal, measles, mumps and rubella.

It comes as COVID-19 vaccines became available for 5-11 year-olds this week, however the coronavirus vaccine will not yet be included in the immunisation program's coverage rate.

Australian children have achieved herd immunity due to high rates of immunisation to the most common diseases. Picture: Shutterstock

Australian children have achieved herd immunity due to high rates of immunisation to the most common diseases. Picture: Shutterstock

A recent report from the Auditor General identified that the coverage rate for children about to enter schooling was potentially 4 per cent lower than the official national figure. This was because of inconsistent and misleading reporting resulting from Health Department methodology that had not been updated since 1998 despite significant changes in Australia's immunisation program.

State and local lockdowns impacting more than half of all Australians in the third quarter of 2021 made no significant dent in childhood vaccination rates with one-year-olds at 94.76 per cent in the yearly figures to September 2021. The rate for five-year-olds stayed above the target at 95.12 per cent.

However, the vaccination of two-year-olds the hovered at 92.56 per cent.

"We continue to strive and work with parents and practitioners to drive this number towards 95 per cent," Mr Hunt said.

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander five-year-olds remains above the national average, at 97.02 per cent. Immunisation for Indigenous Australian children was specifically targeted by a recent government education campaign.

However, for coverage for one-year-old Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children was at 92.90 per cent, almost two per cent lower than the national average.

Australian Immunisation Register data on Indigenous populations 16 years and older show a wide gap in COVID-19 vaccinations with 77.0 per cent having received at least one dose, compared to the national rate of 93.86 per cent.

For 12 to 15-year-old Indigenous children the COVID-19 vaccination rate is 57.4 per cent having received at least one dose, compared to the national rate of 78.42 per cent.

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This story Immunisation rate for children is world-leading: Hunt first appeared on The Canberra Times.