THE Sunshine Coast has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Australia, putting the community at risk of deadly diseases such as whooping cough and measles, a local health group says.
Sunshine Coast Medicare Local chairman Dr Peter Dobson said improving vaccination rates by just a small percentage would reduce the risks of vaccine-preventable diseases, which could include death, severe illness and permanent injury.
He urged parents to ensure their children were fully immunised.
"The documented risks of vaccination are extremely small in comparison to the very significant risk of death and permanent injury from contracting a dis-ease like whooping cough or measles," Dr Dobson said.
"Even common diseases that are sometimes considered rites of passage such as chicken pox can have serious and long-lasting effects from permanent scarring to brain damage and death.
"We are fortunate to live in a time where we can vaccinate against many of the bacteria and viruses that cause these health problems."
Dr Dobson said vaccination programs were responsible for eradicating killers like smallpox worldwide and for eradicating polio in almost every country in the world, including Australia.
Sunshine Coast Public Health Unit director, Dr Andrew Langley, said there had been a marked increase in inquiries from parents and general practices as children returned to school.
"We urge parents to ensure their child's immunisations are up to date," Dr Langley said.
All vaccinations on the Childhood Immunisation Schedule are free.
Should immunisation be compulsory?
This poll ended on 07 March 2013.
Yes - it's for the common good
No - people have the right to choose
Not sure - it's a complex issue
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.