Increased awareness: North Coast Public Health Unit director Paul Corben says there are pockets of very low vaccination coverage on the Mid North Coast.A health body says there are pockets of very low vaccination coverage on the Mid North Coast.
Nanjing Night Net

North Coast Public Health Unit director Paul Corben said these communities are at heightened risk of outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseasesbecause the number of people susceptible to infection can allow diseases to spread.

The North Coast Public Health Unit recently identified a case of measles in the Macleay Valley. There have been no other cases of measles identified in the local area.

Mr Corben said consistently high levels of vaccination coverage are needed for effective disease control.

“So that people who are not able to be vaccinated still receive a high level of protection because the community as a whole is well protected,” he said.

Between September 2015 and September 2016, overall vaccination coverage rates on the Mid North Coast improved marginally forone-year-olds.

Coverage rates for children aged between two years and five years remained steady.

Mr Corben said it was difficult to identify the main drivers of any changewithout targeted research.

He said vaccinations in the first five years of a child’s life are vitally important in laying the foundation for a healthy life.

The NSW Immunisation Program provides communities with protection against vaccine preventable diseases through initiatives targeting infants, children, pregnant women, adolescents, healthcare workers and the elderly.

Mr Corben said vaccines work best if they are given on time.

“Even if a child has a runny nose or cold they can usually still have their vaccines. Delaying vaccination can increase the risk of a child getting sick,” he said.

NSW Health has made it easier for parents to ensure their children are fully immunised on time through its smartphone application called Save the Dateto Vaccinate.

The application allows parents to enter their child’s name and birthdate, as well as their immunisation provider’s contact details.

The technology calculates the next immunisation due date and sends a series of reminders to prompt the parent toschedule an appointment.

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