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Now to the story...

Indigenous babies slip through immunisation net

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 5 April 2005

A national immunisation expert says Aboriginal babies are not being immunised early enough.

University of Sydney researcher Robert Menzies says compared to non-Indigenous people, fewer Aboriginal children are vaccinated by the age of 12 months.

Mr Menzies says if children are not vaccinated in the early months of their lives, it is impossible to prevent them from catching diseases such as whooping cough.

"That's a serious problem for some diseases such as whooping cough, where it is really critical to get vaccinated on time because the younger children under six months of age are the ones that suffer most seriously from the disease," he said.

Mr Menzies says a better system needs to be developed to monitor which Indigenous babies are in need of vaccination and to improve Aboriginal parents' access to immunisation.

"Providing outreach services or transport for people so that they can get to clinics and also having clinic record systems set up so that if somebody does come to the clinic for something else and they also have vaccinations due, that that chance is not missed," he said.

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