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Some truths about the “low” childhood vaccination coverage in Sydney’s eastern suburbs

Mark J Ferson and Karen Orr
Med J Aust 2015; 203 (3): 153.

Among the hype and controversy prompted by the Australian Government’s recent announcement that conscientious objectors to childhood vaccination would lose childcare subsidies and part of the family tax benefit,1 including the accompanying media rancour,2 it is worth noting that published vaccination coverage figures based on the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (the Register) are only an estimate of the extent of coverage.

Mark J Ferson, MD, FAFPHM, FRACP1
Karen Orr, BN, GradDipEmergNurs3
1 South Eastern Sydney Local Health District, Sydney, NSW
2 University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW
3 The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, NSW
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Australian Government. Department of Social Services. Strengthening immunisation for young children. Apr 2015. https://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/families-and-children/benefits-payments/strengthening-immunisation-for-young-children (accessed Apr 2015).
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Poulos R, Botham S, McFarland K, Ferson MJ. Getting it right — The Australian Childhood Immunisation Register and immunisation rates in south-eastern Sydney. Aust N Z J Public Health 2004; 28: 68-71.
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Hull BP, Lawrence GL, MacIntyre CR, McIntyre PB. Is low immunisation coverage in inner urban areas of Australia due to low uptake or poor notification?. Aust Fam Physician 2003; 32: 1041-1043.
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Parliament of New South Wales. Full day Hansard transcript (Legislative Assembly, 29 May 2013, corrected copy): 21261. http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Prod/Parlment/hanstrans.nsf/V3ByKey/LA20130529/$File/LA20130529.pdf (accessed Apr 2015).
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