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Vaccination objection rates haven’t changed: study

Vaccination objection rates haven’t changed: study - Featured Image

Despite media reports to the contrary, the overall level of vaccination objection has remained largely unchanged since 2001.

Research published in the Medical Journal of Australia looked at the trends in registered vaccination objection and estimated the contribution of unregistered objection to incomplete vaccination among Australian children.

Dr Frank Beard and colleagues from the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and the University of Sydney found that registered objectors affecting children from 1 – 6 had increased from 1.1% in 2002 to 2.0% in 2013.

However the proportion of children with incomplete vaccinations but no objection recorded declined during this period.

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The authors also found that more than half of the 2.4% of children with no vaccinations recorded were born overseas.

It’s suggested that most of these children are likely to be vaccinated however they haven’t been recorded on the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register.

“We recommend that primary care clinicians pay close attention to ensuring that the vaccination history of overseas-born children is correctly recorded in the ACIR,” the authors urged.

Related: Punishing families not the way to boost vaccination rates

The authors estimate 1.3% of children were incompletely vaccinated due to unregistered parenting vaccination objection. In total, an estimation of 3.3% of children were affected by registered or unregistered objection.

A 2001 survey found that 2.5-3.0% of children had parents who had registered an objection, suggesting “that there has been little change in the overall impact of vaccination objection since 2001”.

The authors urged GPs to be on the lookout for appropriate catch up opportunities for under vaccinated children.

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