The Coalition Government has launched a new ‘Get the Facts about Immunisation’ campaign to encourage Australian parents and carers to get their kids vaccinated.
“We know parents want evidence-based information to support decision making about childhood vaccinations, so we’re making it easier to ‘get the facts’ about immunisation,” Country Liberals Senator for the Northern Territory, Nigel Scullion, said.
“Immunisation rates in Australia are already high, with more than 93 per cent of five-year-old children fully vaccinated. But there are some areas where the immunisation rate is too low. In the Territory’s Katherine district, for instance, only 82 per cent of two-year-old children are fully vaccinated.”
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the new $5.5 million campaign would reach parents in areas where vaccination rates are low through childcare services and online communication channels, such as social media.
“Research has shown that when people are fully informed about the benefits of vaccination, they are more likely to vaccinate,” Minister Hunt said.
This includes important facts such as:
- Vaccines strengthen children’s immune systems;
- All childhood diseases we vaccinate against can cause serious illness, including death;
- All vaccines available in Australia have been thoroughly tested for safety and effectiveness and are continually monitored; and
- Immunisation is a safe and effective way of giving protection against diseases such as whooping cough and measles.
“Stories of parents losing their young children to these horrible diseases are simply heartbreaking,” Minister Hunt said.
“I would like to thank the Hughes and McCaffery families, who shared their heart-breaking stories as part of the campaign.”
Riley Hughes and Dana McCaffery were both only a month old when they died of a vaccine-preventable disease. They were both too young to be vaccinated, so like all other newborns, relied on the rest of the community being vaccinated to offer protection.
The new campaign also features immunologist and 2006 Australian of the Year, Professor Ian Frazer AC. Professor Frazer’s credible, evidence-based information about childhood immunisation is one of the great strengths of the campaign.
“Ensuring parents are fully informed about immunisation is vital in ensuring we increase the rates of immunisation across Australia in the 0 to 5 age group,” Professor Frazer said.
“Australia has a strong immunisation record which has seen a reduction in disease in this country. However we still see cases of disease outbreaks, particularly in areas of low immunisation coverage, so it’s important immunisation rates are as high as possible.
“Vaccines work to protect children against being infected by these diseases. A parent will never know when their child may come into contact with someone who has got one of these infections, so the best way to protect children from these diseases is to make sure they’re fully immunised.”
Further information about the campaign is available at: www.immunisationfacts.gov.au