Success of immunisation programs in Aboriginal children
The success of immunisation programs in Aboriginal children is evident in the decreased burden of disease and the decreased rate of hospital admissions following the introduction of the National Immunisation Program.
There still remains a gap in the immunisation coverage rates between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children in the younger age groups. By 2 years of age, the immunisation coverage gap increases significantly highlighting a delay in Aboriginal children getting vaccinated. Delayed immunisations leave children vulnerable to vaccine preventable diseases at periods when they are most at risk.
Children are not fully protected until the completion of their full course of childhood immunisations by 4 years of age. Currently, 95% of Aboriginal children are considered fully immunised by 5 years of age.
Immunisation coverage rates are improving, but there continues to be a number of factors affecting Aboriginal immunisation coverage rates, including timeliness and identification of Aboriginal status among health service providers. For more information on how to improve timeliness of vaccination in Aboriginal children for vaccines due at 6 weeks of age, 4 and 6 months of age see the Help Me Stay Strong page.
Immunisation programs have been shown to reduce the rates of disease between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people for specific vaccine preventable disease.
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