Doctors alarmed by low jab rate
AS THE region's low immunisation rates continue to hover in dangerously low territory, a Sunshine Coast doctor has urged parents to consult their GP.
The Sunshine Coast has the lowest immunisation rate in the state and the third lowest in Australia, with only 87% of five-year-olds fully immunised.
The Coast average is dragged down by a few regions with particularly low rates of vaccination.
Rates are broken down by postcodes, with an alarmingly low 64% of five-year-olds in the 4552 region - which takes in Maleny, Conondale, Witta, and Crystal Waters - fully immunised.
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Landsborough GP and Sunshine Coast Medicare Local chair Dr Peter Dobson said low rates of vaccination could not be attributed to differences in socio-economic factors - pointing to the fact that Noosa had an alarmingly low rate and the eastern suburbs of Sydney had the smallest uptake in the country.
He said low rates were due to the anti-immunisation lobby and a pervasive campaign of misinformation.
"There has been a very strong anti-immunisation campaign and that creates doubt in the mind," he said.
"Parents want what is best for their child, and in reality a doctor can never guarantee anything 100%. But what they can provide is the best information and the best research, which is based on evidence, years of stats."
Dr Dobson said immunisation should be front of mind for parents at this time of year with pre-school boosters due for four-year-olds.
He said it was up to parents to make up their own mind but urged them to seek advice from their GP in an attempt to arm themselves with all the information.
"Low rates in some areas like Maleny and Conondale, it's quite a problem," he said.
"With whooping cough vaccination, you need upwards of 85% of the population to be immunised for it to be effective, to have that herd immunity."