Australian parents are terrible at vaccinating their children against fatal illnesses.
The Abbott government has recently announced it will withhold tax benefits in order to boost the nation’s rate of immunisation, which is low compared to our close neighbours in Asia.
This scheme would need to increase Australia’s rate of vaccination by almost 9 percentage points to catch up with Japan and China.
An additional 24,000 Australian children have not been vaccinated over the past decade because of their parents’ objections, the government has claimed, thereby dragging down the national average.
The Japanese have a recorded immunisation rate of 100 per cent, and China is close behind on 99.67 per cent, charity ChildFund has reported.
The Philippines has inoculated 94 per cent of its citizens, while Laos is on 87 per cent.
Australia, at 91.5 per cent, lags behind the Philippines, and narrowly ahead of Laos.
These latest comparable statistics were compiled by the United Nations World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2013.
Since then, immunisation rates may have fallen slightly, government data suggests.
Immunisation protects against such life-threatening diseases as measles, diphtheria, rotavirus and rubella.