Healthy Communities: Immunisation rates for children in 2015–16
Healthy Communities: Immunisation rates for children in 2015–16 (In Focus) presents statistics on the percentages of children aged 1, 2 and 5 years who were fully immunised in 2015–16. Results are presented for the 31 Primary Health Network areas that cover Australia as well as smaller geographic areas.
The Australian Immunisation Register
Data for the report were sourced from the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR), which is administered by the Australian Government Department of Human Services (Medicare).1
The AIR is a national register that records immunisations given to children to help parents and guardians keep track of their children’s immunisations. It also enables governments and health managers to monitor immunisation coverage in Australia.2 It is estimated that the AIR has records for close to 99% of children in Australia. The AIR may underestimate coverage due to incomplete submission of immunisation records or the inclusion of children who no longer reside in an area but have not been updated on the register.
Recognised immunisation providers submit immunisation data daily to the AIR via the electronic Medicare online claiming facility, secure internet facilities or manual processes using a designated form. As of 2001, immunisations administered overseas that are endorsed by an Australian vaccination provider can also be submitted to the AIR.2
The Register was originally established in 1996 as the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR). In 2016, the Register was expanded to include vaccinations for individuals of all ages and the name was revised to the Australian Immunisation Register.
Presentation of results
The report presents information at the geography of:
- Primary Health Network (PHN) areas - 31 geographic areas covering Australia, with boundaries defined by the Australian Government Department of Health
- Statistical Areas Level 3 (SA3s) - 333 geographic areas covering Australia, with boundaries defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).3 Results are presented by SA3 for all children
- Statistical Areas Level 4 (SA4s) - 88 geographic areas covering Australia, with boundaries defined by the ABS.3 Results are presented by SA4 for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children. The larger areas of SA4s (compared to SA3s) allows for more reliable reporting of smaller populations
- Postcode - Data is available in at least one age group for around 1500 of the approximately 2,700 Australian postcodes. These postcodes account for around 97% of children on the AIR.
Immunisation rates for 2011–12 have previously been reported by SA3 on the MyHealthyCommunities website. Data for PHN areas are only available from 2012–13.
Interpreting the results
Childhood immunisation rates are not reported in areas where the eligible population is less than or equal to 25 registered children. Results where the eligible population is between 26 and 100 registered children are flagged, as they should be interpreted with caution (see Table 1).
The report presents ranges in immunisation rates across geographic areas; for example, the local area (SA3) with the highest percentage of children fully immunised compared with the local area with the lowest percentage. To ensure reliability in reporting these ranges, only the areas where the eligible population is greater than 100 registered children were included (see Table 1).
Table 1: Number of areas not reported or flagged as interpret with caution due to small numbers of the eligible population
|All children||Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children|
|PHN area||SA3||Postcode||PHN area||SA4|
|Reported with caution (#)||1||584||1||28|
|Reported (100+ children)||31||324||896||30||52|
|Reported with caution (#)||1||607||1||30|
|Reported (100+ children)||31||324||883||30||52|
|Reported with caution (#)||1||613||2||31|
|Reported (100+ children)||31||324||899||29||49|
Results describing the number of areas above or below a specified percentage of children fully immunised, for example, the number of local areas (SA3s) with immunisation rates of 90% and above, include areas where the eligible population is between 26 and 100 registered children. This provides an overall picture of immunisation rates across all areas in Australia for which results are able to be published.
Identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
Children identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander in this report reflect the indigenous status recorded on the AIR, which is based on Medicare enrolment records.
No assessment has been undertaken on the completeness of identification within the AIR for the purposes of the report. However, since 2005, reporting of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status in the AIR data has been considered reliable for reporting immunisation coverage rates at the national and state and territory level.4
1 Department of Health 2017. Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). Canberra: Department of Health. Viewed 20 February 2017, http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/internet/immunise/publishing.nsf/Content/ohp-acir.htmExternal link, opens in a new window.
2 Department of Human Services 2014. Australian Immunisation Register. Canberra: Department of Human Services. Viewed 20 February 2017, https://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/services/medicare/australian-immunisation-registerExternal link, opens in a new window..
3 ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) 2012. Australian Statistical Geography Standard: Correspondences, July 2011. Canberra: ABS. Viewed 20 February 2017, http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/1270.0.55.006External link, opens in a new window..
4 Rank C and Menzies RI 2007. How reliable are Australian Childhood Immunisation Register coverage estimates for Indigenous children? An assessment of data quality and coverage. Communicable Disease Intelligence 31(3): 283–7.