09 April 2019
For the first time ever in NSW, vaccination rates for one-year-olds have soared past the coveted 95 per cent herd immunity figure to a record 96.25 per cent coverage.

NSW Health research has found more than a third of one-year-olds recorded as overdue for their jabs by the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) were not at all.

Lead researcher Charlee Law said the surprise findings are great news and will help NSW Health to better target those children slipping through the vaccination net.

“Vaccination rates in NSW have been steadily climbing thanks to record investment in immunisation programs and these results confirm everyone’s hard work,” Ms Law said.

“The findings mean the true immunisation coverage for one-year-olds is 2.1 per cent, above what was previously thought and also above the national average of 94 per cent.

“While this is fantastic news for the community, what the current national measles issue shows us is that parents can never be complacent when it comes to vaccination.”

The AIR considers a child to be fully vaccinated at 12 months of age if they have had all their required shots that are due at six weeks, four months and six months of age.

As part of the study, to be published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health this month, the vaccination records of more than 400 one-year-olds in NSW were audited, with 143 incorrectly stating that immunisations were overdue.

NSW Health’s Director of Communicable Diseases, Dr Vicky Sheppeard, said the findings will help Federal agencies to identify ways to further improve the AIR.

“Australia has an internationally recognised immunisation program, so any findings that can improve information recording and service delivery is a bonus,” Dr Sheppeard said.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the NSW Government has invested $130 million in the 2018-19 immunisation program, including Commonwealth and state vaccines.

“These findings show the legislative changes implemented by the NSW Government and the investment into immunisation programs is paying dividends,” Mr Hazzard said.

New NSW Government laws came in on 1 January 2018 preventing parents who object to vaccination from enrolling their children in preschools and early childhood centres.

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