Parents rush to Hunter clinics to beat back-to-school immunisation countdown

VACCINATION clinics across the Hunter hope their workload will ease when school returns this week.

For the past three months, the clinics have been inundated with children and their parents desperate to tick immunisations off their to-do lists.

The rush was caused by new state government legislation that requires all children to provide their immunisation history at child care enrolment.

NSW is the first state to introduce this kind of legislation and is likely to set the trend for the rest of the country.

At the Belmont Kaleidoscope Paediatric Clinic, staff have been run off their feet vaccinating more than 67 children since November.

Mother of two Lisa-Rees Watsford visited the clinic last week with her daughter, Isabella, 4, after receiving a reminder from the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register.

"I think it's important to vaccinate children to keep them healthy and I've brought Isabella in since she's due to start pre-school," she said.

Vaccinations protect children from measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus and polio.

If a child is not vaccinated, these diseases can be contracted and may lead to time in hospital, long-term complications and sometimes death.

Although the Hunter has one of the highest immunisation rates in the country, there are still more than 600 children aged five who have not been fully vaccinated.

Pre-school vaccinations are provided free by the government and can be administered by local GPs or vaccination centres.

■ Parents can request their child's vaccination history from the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register or by phoning 1800 653 809. Kaleidoscope's free vaccination clinics are open at Belmont, Charlestown, Edgeworth and Waratah. Go to kaleidoscope.org.au/site/immunisation for more information.

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