Why is our vaccination rate the poorest in Australia?
APPALLING vaccination rates on the Sunshine Coast have sparked the need for a beaming new "immunisation billboard" along the Bruce Hwy.
Sunshine Coast Medicare Local has launched its immunisation billboard campaign, starting in Palmview, as a result of the region having the highest number of conscientious objectors to immunisation in the country.
National data on immunisation rates show there are 660 children in the region with a "registered conscientious objection" next to their name - bringing the figure to 7.1%, the highest in the country.
But this number is less than half of the region's 1419 children who records show are not fully immunised.
Landsborough GP Peter Dobson warned that without "herd immunity" more people were at risk of falling ill to largely preventable diseases.
"Complacency has set in," Dr Dobson said.
"People don't see the diseases so they question why their child should get the needles.
"But this complacency can lead to a rise in diseases like whooping cough."
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Nutritionist and author Cyndi O'Meara, who lives in Mooloolaba, doubted the campaign would work.
She believes vaccination rates are dropping because "more people are becoming educated about the dangers of vaccines".
Ms O'Meara has never had a vaccine in her life and hasn't had an antibiotic or painkiller and neither have her children.
"People are beginning to question immunisations and the amount we are having," she said.
"Maybe they are not as safe as we have been told and they are no longer sure if they should sacrifice their child for the greater good.
"Social media is telling us the truth now.
"A mother put up how a daughter went to get her cervical cancer vaccine and three hours later she is dead."
She said she wasn't against the "philosophy behind vaccines", but did question "dubious ingredients".
Dr Dobson stressed the overwhelming research worldwide backed the benefits of vaccines.
"You are 1000 times safer (from diseases) when given vaccines," he said.
"This has been shown over many years and many examples.
"People don't want to listen to this.
"They want to throw up one example of a child screaming as a rare side-effect to vaccine.
"They don't see the numbers of cases, as we did many years ago, of children dying from whooping cough."
- SUNSHINE Coast/Gympie region overall childhood immunisation rates:
- 89.6% of one-year-olds
- 89.6% of two-year-olds
- 88% of five-year-olds