Kids In Sydney's Richest Suburbs Less Likely to Be Vaccinated
In some parts of Australia, children are denied access to vaccines because they're living remotely or they're poor.
Then there are the rich city kids, whose parents are also leaving them exposed.
Latest figures from the Australian Immunisation Register show Australians are vaccinating their children in greater numbers than ever before. The immunisation rate for five-year-olds is inching ever closer to the 95 per cent coverage target.
But New South Wales falls below the national average at 94.56 percent, and behind Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT.
We can thank the parents in five Sydney areas for dragging the harbour city down the list: the eastern suburbs (north), eastern suburbs (south), North Sydney and Mosman, Manly and the inner city, with rates below 90 percent.
Vaccination rates for five-year-olds there still haven't cracked 90 per cent. Co-incidentally, half of those areas also feature in the Australian Tax Office's wealthiest postcodes list.
Health Minister Greg Hunt has remained steadfast on the government's position.
"There are decades and decades of different sources of evidence and practice and simply reduced incidences of conditions such as mumps and measles, rubella, whooping cough," he said,
"So the evidence is clear, overwhelming and very broadly accepted."
The Australian Medical Association has provided much of that evidence over a long period of time. When vaccination rates surpassed 93 per cent last year, then AMA President Dr Michael Gannon had words for the other seven per cent,
"The false claims, the mistruths, the lies that you can find on the internet are of a great concern."
New AMA President Dr Tony Bartone agreed.
"Vaccines have been tested and approved by one of the most stringent safety authorities in the world," he said.
"We have an evidence-based product that's been thoroughly tested."
We don't know whether these parents choose not to immunise their children, forget, are too busy, or can't afford it.
But scientists and doctors tell us that parents who deny their children the benefits of vaccination against preventable and infectious disease are doing their child and the community a disservice.