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Immunisation coverage among a birth cohort of Aboriginal infants in an urban community

Authors

  • Mark F Harris,

    1. Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Vana Webster,

    1. Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Bin Jalaludin,

    1. Centre for Research, Evidence Management and Surveillance, South Western Sydney Local Health District, Liverpool, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Lisa R Jackson Pulver,

    1. Muru Marri Indigenous Health Unit, School of Public Health & Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Elizabeth Jean Comino

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
    • Correspondence: Dr Elizabeth Jean Comino, Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia. Fax: +61 (2) 9385 1513; email: e.comino@unsw.edu.au

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  • Note: The use of the term ‘Aboriginal’ is in recognition of the preference of the Aboriginal community in south-western Sydney. Although we recognise that this work may also apply to people of Torres Strait Islander background, the majority of the community in the region is of Aboriginal origin. Use of this term is also in line with NSW Health policy.
  • Competing interestsThe authors have not reported any competing interests.
  • Conflict of interestThere were no conflicts of interest to declare.

Abstract

Aim

The aim of this study is to examine the age-appropriate immunisation coverage and the factors associated with this in a cohort of Aboriginal infants in an outer urban Sydney community in comparison with non-Aboriginal infants in this community.

Methods

Data on immunisation coverage were extracted from the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register for a birth cohort of 178 Aboriginal and 356 non-Aboriginal infants born in Campbelltown between October 2005 and May 2007. Non-Aboriginal infants were matched on birthdates and gender. Data on maternal socio-economic and other characteristics were collected by questionnaire.

Results

Australian Childhood Immunisation Register records were identified for 92% of infants. Immunisation rates of Aboriginal infants were comparable with those of non-Aboriginal infants except for delay at 4 and 6 months. Rates of delay in immunisation at 12 and 18 months for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal infants were similar. Young maternal age and higher parity were both associated with a greater likelihood of delay.

Conclusions

Immunisation rates in this population of Aboriginal infants are comparable to those of non-Aboriginal infants except for delay in immunisation at 4 and 6 months. Identified risk factors for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal infants may be amenable to intervention. Strategies to ensure timely compliance with immunisation schedules in this outer urban community have achieved reasonable immunisation coverage for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal infants.

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