Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Growing Fear of Measles Epidemic in the Tweed Shire; OUTBREAK: Vaccination Rates Low in Northern Rivers Area

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Growing Fear of Measles Epidemic in the Tweed Shire; OUTBREAK: Vaccination Rates Low in Northern Rivers Area

Article excerpt

Byline: James Perkins james.perkins@tweednews.com.au

HEALTH authorities are adamant immunisation is the best way to combat disease, but are battling low childhood vaccination rates across the Far North Coast.

NSW Health targets a minimum 90 per cent of vaccinated kids to create a aherd immunitya to disease in the community.

The Tweed Shire has a 89.1 measles, mumps, rubella vaccination rate for children aged 24 to 27 months, but that figure drops off to 83.3 per cent who return for the follow- up shot at five years of age.

Parents can become conscientious objectors against vaccination and not lose government benefits usually reserved for those who do.

While vaccination statistics are only available at shire level, Paul Corben, the North Coast Area director of Public Health said Tweed Valley had a high conscientious objector rate.

"Certainly in the area around Murwillumbah, we do see conscientious objector rates of about 25 per cent and that is extraordinarily high," Mr Corben said. …

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