Victorian kids are now better protected against vaccine-preventable diseases with the state hitting the ambitious herd immunity target of 95 per cent – its best immunisation coverage in history.

But Member for Dandenong, Gabrielle Williams, said today that the latest figures from the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register show that only 92.13% per cent of five-year-olds in the local community are now fully immunised and that there is more work to do.

Since the introduction of the Andrews Labor Government’s tough No Jab No Play laws, there has been a consistent increase in immunisation rates for Victorian children across the state.

Victoria’s immunisation rate has risen from 93 per cent in 2016, and at 95.3 per cent is the third highest rate in Australia behind smaller states of Tasmania and the ACT – across Australia the rate is 94.5 per cent.

The 95 per cent ‘herd immunity’ target is necessary to halt the spread of dangerous and virulent diseases such as measles. High rates of vaccination provide important protection for those who cannot receive vaccines, such as babies who are too young or people who cannot receive vaccines for medical reasons.

The Labor Government takes a strong approach to vaccination – we brought back the free whooping cough vaccination program for mums and dads in 2015, after it was axed by the former Liberal Government to protect our youngest Victorians from the deadly disease.

While the statewide vaccination record come as changes to strengthen No Jab No Play laws are in the Vcitorian Parliament – they are a strong reminder for the local community about the importance of immunisation.

Changes to these laws will mean only Immunisation History Statements from the Australian Immunisation Register will be accepted as evidence of immunisation and as evidence of medical exemption to vaccination when enrolling a child in childcare or kindergarten – no other document will be accepted.

This reduces the risk of potentially false vaccination exemptions being written up – which put community health and safety at risk – and will no longer be accepted for enrolment into early childhood facilities.  These changes also help simplify the enrolment process for early childhood providers.