Immunisation rates rise for Australian children, but variation still seen across local communities

UNDER EMBARGO—until 1:00am, Thursday, 22 March, 2018

Nationally, more children are fully immunised by the time they are 5 years old than in the past; however, variations are still seen across local areas, according to new data released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The data shows that 93.5% of Australian 5 year olds were fully immunised in 2016–17. This is up from 92.9% in 2015–16 and 90.0% in 2011–12, but still below the national target of 95%.

The data shows variation across Australia’s 31 Primary Health Networks (PHN) areas. PHNs are organisations that connect health services over local geographic areas.

The proportion of fully immunised 5 year olds was highest in Western NSW at 96.0%, while North Coast (NSW), and  Perth North have the lowest rates at 90.6%.

‘The greatest improvement was seen in the Central Queensland, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast PHN area, which rose from 91.6% in 2015–16 to 93.3% in 2016–17,’ said AIHW spokesperson Tracy Dixon.

Detailed immunisation results for 1, 2 and 5 year olds at three levels of geography, plus results for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, are available at https://www.myhealthycommunities.gov.au/.

‘Despite the majority of Australian children being immunised, it’s important that we don’t become complacent. We need to maintain high immunisation rates to protect the vulnerable groups in our community,’ Ms Dixon said.

Updated information on immunisation against human papillomavirus (HPV) is also available today on the MyHealthyCommunities website. The web update shows that in 2015–16, 80.1% of girls aged 15, and 74.1% of boys aged 15, were fully immunised against HPV.  

‘HPV immunisation rates for girls varied across PHN areas, ranging from 85.6% of girls fully immunised in Central and Eastern Sydney to 69.2% in Tasmania’, Ms Dixon said.

‘The greatest improvements in HPV immunisation rates in girls was seen in Perth North rising from 70.2% in 2014–15 to 77.2% in 2015–16.

For boys, rates ranged from 83.5% in Murrumbidgee (NSW) to 62.5% in Tasmania.

The National HPV Vaccination Program has been immunising adolescent girls since 2007 and was extended to boys in 2013.

Further information: Elizabeth Ingram, AIHW: Tel. 02 6249 5048, mob. 0431 871 337 
                                       Elise Guy, AIHW: Tel. 02 6244 1156, mob. 0468 525 418