Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Kerryn Coleman, said in NAIDOC week in which we celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, this result is stunning.
A breakdown of the three age cohorts of 1, 2 and 5 years from the latest Australian Immunisation Register quarterly reports show that immunisations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the ACT are at:
- 97.7% for children at 12 months of age, compared to the national average of 92%;
- 100% for children at 2 years of age, compared to the national average of 88%; and
- 100% for children at 5 years of age compared to the national average of 96.8%.
“This result is a remarkable turnaround from the rates the ACT recorded in 2016 in which coverage for some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the Territory had fallen to the lowest in the country,” Dr Coleman said.
“The ACT Government strives to increase the immunisation coverage rates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children through a suite of activities, among them:
- Monthly reminders are sent to the parents of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children;
- Postcards sent to parents of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to remind them about immunisations prior to their child turning two, four, six, 12 and 18 months or four years;
- Where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from three months to five years are overdue for immunisations, a tailored follow up is undertaken; and
- Promotional resources and information including posters and brochures providing targeted reminders to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
“However, the good news doesn’t stop there. In all three cohorts for all children, the ACT is above the national average when it comes to immunisation coverage:
- Children at 1 year in the ACT-96.5%; Australia-93.8%;
- Children at 2 years in the ACT-93.8%; Australia-90.7%; and
- Children at 5 years in the ACT-95.2%; Australia-94.7%
“Immunisation in the ACT is an ongoing collaborative effort between public and private immunisation providers, Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service, parents, the Canberra community, Capital Health Network and ACT Health.
“Clearly the targeted work ACT Health, our health community of GPs and nurses have been doing to reach out to children across the ACT and of course the motivation and drive of parents to get their children immunised is making the difference.
“Population health measures such as immunisations relies on populations to get involved and this result really is pleasing for the broader benefit of our community,” Dr Coleman said.