Sunshine Coast hinterland and Eumundi are two areas with low vaccination rates. Photo: File
Sunshine Coast hinterland and Eumundi are two areas with low vaccination rates. Photo: File

Suburbs with ‘notoriously’ low vaccination rates

"HIPPIE and alternative" families continue to frustrate Sunshine Coast medical professionals with several suburbs across the region "notorious" for their low vaccination rates.

Federal Department of Health statistics show the Sunshine and Gold coasts are among the worst rates in the country for vaccination rates.

The most recent data, from October 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019, showed for children aged 12-15 months, the Sunshine Coast's vaccination rate was 92.67 per cent. Only the North Coast of NSW was worse.

For children aged 24-27 months, the Sunshine Coast's vaccination rate was 91 per cent. Only Gold Coast and Northern Territory and some parts of Sydney were lower.

For children aged 63-60 months, the Sunshine Coast's vaccination rate was 94.01 per cent. Northern Territory, Gold Coast and Perth were lower.

Are you concerned about vaccination rates on the Sunshine Coast?

This poll ended on 11 March 2020.

Current Results

Yes

81%

No

16%

I'm not sure

1%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

The Sunshine Coast hinterland and Eumundi are considered some of the regions with the lowest vaccination rates.

AMA Sunshine Coast president Dr Roger Faint said 100 per cent rate would be perfect but could only guess at why people were reluctant to vaccinate.

"There are higher densities of anti-vaxxers in certain areas. They live in alternative communities, like Byron Bay, and areas around Eumundi," Dr Faint said.

"Anti-vaxxers like to feel vindicated and it's a looming issue.

"People in hippie or natural lifestyles like to work in their own way. Unfortunately they're the ones who tend to get sick when there is an epidemic.

"They have a different approach to life, and have naive ideas that vaccinations can contain foreign substances like mercury."

Dr Faint said those opposed to vaccination weren't only found in "alternative" lifestyles and that vaccination percentages tended to fluctuate over the years.

"I've come across people from well-educated backgrounds, living within affluent, wealthy communities and the opposite. So it's well spread across the population," he said.

Dr Wayne Herdy, of Nambour's Maud Street Medical Centre, said it was frustrating to continuously have "notoriously" low vaccination rates.

In 2018, figures from the Australian Immunisation Register showed Sunshine Coast hinterland had just 88.8 per cent of five-year-old children fully vaccinated.


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