Childhood vaccination coverage in Australia: an equity perspective

Arzu Arat, Hannah C. Moore, Sharon Goldfeld, Viveca Östberg, Vicky Sheppeard, Heather F. Gidding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: This study describes trends in social inequities in first dose measles-mumps-rubella (MMR1) vaccination coverage in Western Australia (WA) and New South Wales (NSW). Using probabilistically-linked administrative data for 1.2 million children born between 2002 and 2011, we compared levels and trends in MMR1 vaccination coverage measured at age 24 months by maternal country of birth, Aboriginal status, maternal age at delivery, socio-economic status, and remoteness in two states. Results: Vaccination coverage was 3–4% points lower among children of mothers who gave birth before the age of 20 years, mothers born overseas, mothers with an Aboriginal background, and parents with a low socio-economic status compared to children that did not belong to these social groups. In both states, between 2007 and 2011 there was a decline of 2.1% points in MMR1 vaccination coverage for children whose mothers were born overseas. In 2011, WA had lower coverage among the Aboriginal population (89.5%) and children of young mothers (89.3%) compared to NSW (92.2 and 92.1% respectively). Conclusion: Despite overall high coverage of MMR1 vaccination, coverage inequalities increased especially for children of mothers born overseas. Strategic immunisation plans and policy interventions are important for equitable vaccination levels. Future policy should target children of mothers born overseas and Aboriginal children.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1337
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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