Chief Minister and Minister for Health, Katy Gallagher, has today welcomed the latest immunisation results which show that ACT community has the highest rates of immunisation amongst one year olds in Australia.
However, these results will be monitored closely in light of the proposed introduction of a GP co- payment to make sure that immunisation rates don’t drop in the lead up to the commencement of the co-payment in 2015.
“The ACT currently has a very high immunisation rate which is something we as a community can be proud of and 60 percent of vaccinations for children seven years and under are done in General Practice,” the Chief Minister said.
“The proposed $7 co-payment for GP services may make parents think twice before taking their new babies to the doctor for crucial vaccinations against diseases like polio, tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type b, rotavirus and pneumococcal disease..
“Data for the past four quarters shows approximately 93 per cent of one and two-year-olds were fully immunised, compared with approximately 92 per cent of five-year olds.
“We have been working closely with Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service to improve vaccination rates amongst the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies and children and are already hearing stories of people not wanting to attend the service if they have to find $7 each visit.
Last week the Chief Minister met with the ACT Medicare Local and Winnunga Nimmityjah and agreed to work together to support the best health outcomes for people in the ACT.
“Immunisations are a vital part of our health system and have been consistently proven to be one of the most effective medical interventions against preventable disease.
“Immunisations not only protect those that have been vaccinated, but those who are too young or those that cannot be immunised due to other medical conditions,” the Chief Minister said.