ALMOST 2000 children on the NSW north coast have not been fully immunised, with the district's vaccination rate trailing every other part of the nation.
While figures from the latest Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report released today show an overall rise in the national immunisation rate, there is a stark contrast in the figures in parts of NSW.
Opposition health spokesman Walt Secord says the rates in the state's north are "disappointing" and the decision not to get a toddler immunised is "wrong". A total of 1867 children aged five or under are not fully immunised on the NSW North Coast, compared with 721 children in Western NSW and 481 in Murrumbidgee in the state's southwest.
The 2015-16 data shows western NSW had the highest five-year-old immunisation rate (96.1 per cent) of the 31 Primary Health Networks (PHNs) in Australia, followed closely behind by Murrumbidgee (96 per cent).
The national average is 92.9 per cent, which is below the national target of 95 per cent, the report shows.
Walt Secord says mothers in the developing world line-up for hours to protect their children.
Northern Sydney and Central & Eastern Sydney also both ranked low for immunisation rates on the list of PHNs.
But the NSW North Coast sits at the bottom of the table at 90.3 per cent. Just 52 per cent of five-year-olds in the district's suburb of Mullumbimby are immunised, the AIHW found.
That's along with 48.4 per cent of two-year-olds in the area getting jabs, and 56.9 per cent of one-year-olds.
"Mothers in the developing world line-up for hours to protect their children, but we have mothers in Byron and Mullumbimby who put their own children and other children at risk," Mr Secord said today.
"Failing to vaccinate a child is irresponsible."
NATIONAL FIVE-YEAR-OLD IMMUNISATION RATES:
Highest national rate - Western NSW:
Second highest national rate - Murrumbidgee NSW:
Lowest national rate - NSW North Coast:
AIHW spokesman Michael Frost said it's important to maintain high immunisation rates to protect the community, particularly "vulnerable groups such as babies who are too young to receive their vaccines".