LETTERS: Teenagers missing out on vital vaccinations
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
More Queensland teenagers are missing out on vital vaccinations than ever before.
The uptake of the School Immunisation Program is still far from meeting the state's target of 85 per cent of adolescents to be vaccinated through the program.
While this target is aspirational, it means there are quite a number of teenagers out there that are missing out on their school vaccinations, leaving them at risk of contracting potentially deadly diseases.
All year 7 students have access to free diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine, as well as a two-dose course of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
Year 10 students have access to a free meningococcal ACWY vaccine.
While COVID-19 did create some disruptions to schools last year, and children spent some time learning from home, it is important that this year vaccination is high on the priority list for kids and their parents.
It's free and very convenient for children to have the vaccine at school, with clinics running at all state and non-state schools.
While some families choose to vaccinate at their local GP or immunisation clinic, coverage from the school program is below what we'd like to see across Queensland.
That is why I'm urging parents to return the consent forms and ensure their children are protected from these awful and preventable diseases.
In the 2019 school immunisation program, 76 per cent of Year 7 students received a vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis; 66.7 per cent completed the course of the HPV vaccine; and 68.8 per cent of Year 10 students received a dose of meningococcal ACWY vaccine.
This compares to 79 per cent of Year 7 students receiving a vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis; 67 per cent completed the course of the HPV vaccine; and 64 per cent of Year 10 students receiving a dose of meningococcal ACWY vaccine in 2017.
Dr Alun Richards,
Acting Executive Director for the Queensland Health Communicable Diseases Branch.
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