Victoria reaches its herd immunity target

JABBED: Victoria has reached its herd immunity target for the vaccinations of five-year-old children. The government says the record percentage is a result of its "No Jab No Play" legislation that it passed through parliament last year.
JABBED: Victoria has reached its herd immunity target for the vaccinations of five-year-old children. The government says the record percentage is a result of its "No Jab No Play" legislation that it passed through parliament last year.

The immunisation rate of five-year-old children in Hepburn Shire now sits at 92.31 per cent, according to the latest figures from the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register.

The figures were announced by Premier Daniel Andrews and Health Minister Jill Hennessy last Thursday.

The latest figures mean Victoria has hit its herd immunity target of 95 per cent.

The state government says the target is vital to stop the spread of diseases such as measles and to protect the vulnerable who cannot receive vaccines such as newborn babies, the elderly and those who are exempt due to medical reasons.

The number of fully vaccinated five year olds in Hepburn Shire is up from 90.48 per cent in 2012. 

This statistic, however, sits below areas such as Ballarat, which has a record of fully immunised children of the same age recorded at 98.55 per cent.

As a state, Victoria’s immunisation rate has increased from 93 per cent in 2016. 

The latest figure of a 95.3 per cent immunisation cements Victoria as the state with the third highest rate of immunisations in Australia, behind the smaller states of the ACT and Tasmania.

The record figures have been released after the state government introduced its No Jab No Play law in January last year.

The No Jab, No Play legislation bans children who have not been vaccinated from attending child care centres and kindergarten.

The legislation was tightened in late 2017 around what could be accepted as evidence for a medical exemption from immunisations. Immunisation History Statements from the Australian Immunisation Register are now the only accepted documents.

The government says the risk of potentially false vaccination exemptions put the health and safety of the community at risk.

Melbourne doctor John Piesse agreed to have his medical license suspended in August last year for issuing false medical exemptions.

Health Minister Jill Hennessy said Victoria hitting the immunisation target is great news.

“Despite rogue practitioners still trying to tout misinformation – Victorian parents are listening to science and that’s great news,” she said.

Premier Daniel Andrews praised the increased rates of parents immunising their children. 

“We know the more people who are vaccinated, the greater the protection for everyone,” he said.

“There is no debate. Immunisation is safe, effective and saves lives. These are more than just statistics – this is about protecting our kids from deadly, vaccine-preventable diseases.”