Clarence Valley shows the way on vaccination
THE North Coast remains at the bottom of the table when it comes to child immunisation rates but Clarence Valley residents can hold their head high.
Figures for 2014-15 show the North Coast a dismal last of the 31 geographical areas across Australia, with an overall immunisation rate of 87.7%.
That compares to the national average of 91.3%.
A breakdown of the North Coast figures however reveals the Clarence Valley is leading the way when it comes to ensuring the health of our children.
The Clarence Valley has an overall immunisation rate of 92.6%, above the national average and ahead of neighbouring areas such as Inverell/Tenterfield (91.9%), Port Macquarie (90.2%), Coffs Harbour (87.8%), Tweed Valley (87.1%) and Richmond Valley Coastal (83%).
"The Clarence Valley has always been good with its attitude to vaccination and once again deserves congratulations," said Greg Bell, assistant director public health at the Northern NSW Local Health District.
"For the North Coast, overall the figure has gone from 86.3% in the last survey to 87.7% so that is a good sign that it is going in the right direction.
"Unfortunately we get a big bagging because of some pockets that take our figures right down."
While there is negative attitude to immunisation in some parts of the North Coast, other factors affecting local figures include access to doctors and vaccines, and people not remembering vaccinations are due.
Mr Bell said programs to remind people about vaccination, are now being used.
"We are also doing very well with school-based immunisation programs," he said. "With whooping cough we were seeing it in 12-year-olds and those a bit younger, which is about the time when the childhood booster loses effectiveness.
"There will be a program of boosters for Year 7 in all schools in 2016."
Indigenous vaccination rates for the North Coast were 90.3% for one-year-olds, 88.3% for two-year-olds and 95.1% for five-year-olds.
Immunisation rates by postcode
1 -year-olds 92.9%
1 -year-olds 94%
1 -year-olds 89.8%