Safe to follow the herd for immunity
THE Clarence Valley has bucked a North Coast trend of dangerously low immunisation rates and residents need a pat on the back for their efforts, says a public health leader.
Public Health North Coast assistant director Greg Bell said postcodes in the Clarence Valley stood out in the recently released National Health Perform- ance Authority report when their immunisation figures were compared against their neighbours.
"There is an area on the North Coast which has the lowest immunisation fig- ures in Australia," he said.
Mr Bell said he was not sure why the Clarence community's immunisation figures stood out, but believed it was something that came from within the area..
"Perhaps it is a more traditional area where things pass down from family to family," he said.
"It seems to be a lot of this stuff comes from within the community."
Mr Bell said the herd immunity the Clarence Valley's high immunisation rates established was helpful in protecting children before they could be immunised.
When vaccination rates drop below 93% the herd immunity effect begins to fall off.
Mr Bell said once rates reached 95-97% herd immunity was more effective.