Immunisation coverage in refugee children

Kylee J Parsons, Maggi Osbourn, David N Durrheim and Murray T Webber
Med J Aust 2007; 186 (6): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2007.tb00916.x
Published online: 19 March 2007

To the Editor: Refugees are a particularly marginalised group, often originating from countries where immunisation coverage is low.1 As vaccine-preventable diseases such as hepatitis B and measles are endemic in both their countries of origin and the countries in which they spend time in displaced persons camps, the potential burden of disease for refugees is greater than for Australians.2 It is important to determine whether our health systems provide refugees with access to optimal health care, including vaccines.

  • 1 Hunter New England Population Health, Newcastle, NSW.
  • 2 University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW.

  • 1. World Health Organization, UNICEF, World Bank. State of the world’s vaccines and immunization. New York: UNICEF, 2002.
  • 2. Schwarzwald H. Illnesses among recently arrived immigrated children. Semin Pediatr Infect Dis 2005; 16: 78-83.
  • 3. National Health and Medical Research Council. Australian immunisation handbook. 8th ed. Canberra: NHMRC, 2003: 43.
  • 4. Smith MM. Refugees in Australia: changing faces, changing needs. Med J Aust 2006; 185: 587-588. <MJA full text>


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