Three children, including two babies, have been diagnosed with measles this week after they came into contact with an unvaccinated child in a Perth hospital.
The two infants and child were exposed to the virus in the emergency department of Rockingham General Hospital when another child from a non-vaccinating family presented with measles, The Weekend Courier reports.
Watching a child suffer from a disease is not easy for any parent but knowing it might have been prevented only adds to the heartache, such as that expressed by Brisbane mum Kayley Bourke in June last year when her baby son contracted chicken pox.
A Melbourne school even went so far as to order unvaccinated children to stay home for their own protection during an outbreak of measles in February last year.
Importance of immunisation
The Australian Government recognises immunisation as being “one of the most effective strategies in the prevention of many serious diseases”.
“In order to ensure good uptake of vaccination and a safe level of herd immunity, an effective and efficient strategy for mass vaccination across the state is essential,” the Western Australian Department of Health website explains.
“There are several vaccination programs including childhood, school, adult and catch-up immunisation.”
To achieve herd immunity against measles requires 90 to 95 per cent of the population to be immune, which is mostly achieved through vaccinations.
While Rockingham hovers within that range with 92.4 per cent of one year-olds fully vaccinated, it falls well short with only 87.8 per cent of two-year-olds and narrowly scrapes in with 90.5 per cent of five-year-olds fully vaccinated, according to the government’s My Healthy Communities register.