MEMBER for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien has encouraged Gympie region parents to "Get the Facts about Immunisation”, as part of a new campaign to improve the vaccination rates of Wide Bay children.
While immunisation rates in Australia are usually high, with more than 93% of five-year-olds vaccinated, Mr O'Brien said it was important that immunisation rates across Wide Bay were as high as possible to prevent the spread of dangerous diseases.
"Communities with lower rates of immunisation increases the risk of disease outbreaks in the community, especially to people who can't be vaccinated such as newborn babies and people with medical reasons,” Mr O'Brien said.
"We understand parents want evidence-based information to help them make the best choices for their children, and that is why the Coalition Government has launched this campaign to make it easier for them to 'Get the Facts about Immunisation'.”
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said this new $5.5 million campaign will reach parents in these areas of Wide Bay through child care services and online communication channels, such as social media.
"Research has shown that when people are fully informed about the benefits of vaccination, they are more likely to vaccinate,” Minister Hunt said.
This includes important facts such as:
- Vaccines strengthen your child's immune system.
- All childhood diseases we vaccinate against can cause serious illness, including death.
- All vaccines available in Australia have been thoroughly tested for safety and effectiveness and are continually monitored.
- Immunisation is a safe and effective way of giving protection against diseases such as whooping cough and measles.
"Stories of parents losing their young children to these horrible diseases are simply heartbreaking,” Mr Hunt said.
"I would like to thank the Hughes and McCaffery families, who shared their heart breaking stories as part of the campaign.”
Riley Hughes and Dana McCaffery were both only a month old when they died of a vaccine-preventable disease. They were both too young to be vaccinated, so like all other newborns, relied on the rest of the community being vaccinated to offer protection.
The new campaign also features Immunologist and 2006 Australian of the Year, Professor Ian Frazer.
Professor Frazer's credible, evidence-based information about childhood immunisation is one of the great strengths of this campaign.
"Ensuring parents are fully informed about immunisation is vital in ensuring we increase the rates of immunisation across Australia in the 0 to 5 age group,” Professor Frazer AC said.
"Australia has a strong immunisation record which has seen a reduction in disease in this country, however we still see cases of disease outbreaks, particularly in areas of low immunisation coverage, so it's important immunisation rates are as high as possible.
"Vaccines work to protect children against being infected by these diseases. A parent will never know when their child may come into contact with someone who has got one of these infections, so the best way to protect children from these diseases, is to make sure they're fully immunised.”
You can find out more information about the campaign by visiting www.immunisationfacts.gov.au.