A little jab could be the difference between life and death.
Immunisation rates for preventable disease are high across the Hunter New England Health District.
At least 95 per cent of children in the area have been fully vaccinated and its vital that they are, public health physician David Durrheim said.
“In the past many children in Australia died due to preventable diseases, or suffered long-term consequences,” he said.
“If you have enough people protected a disease can’t spread far because it runs out of susceptible people to infect.
“Measles have a very high potential to infect others so you need 95 per cent of people to be vaccinated so you don’t get big outbreaks.”
In Tamworth, nurses have been busy at drop-in vaccination clinics for children up to four years old.
With school now back, plenty of parents took the time to catch up on immunisations – it’s now required at enrolment.
In NSW, students who haven’t been fully vaccinated in primary and secondary schools will be excluded from education if there is an outbreak of vaccine preventable disease at the school.
The same goes for if there is a reasonable belief a child without vaccinations has come into contact with a preventable disease even if the school has no outbreak.
For a long time, misinformation about links between autism and vaccinations have caused issues with parents choosing not to immunise their children.
At the free drop-in clinic, mother Courtney Newlands took her 16-week-old son Claude for his vaccinations.
“It’s important because in the long run while it hurts now it saves them,” she said.
The mother of a child with autism herself, Ms Newlands said even if it were true, it wouldn’t be worth putting a child at risk of deadly disease.
“I’d rather have a son with autism than have my child die of a preventable disease,” she said.
Tamworth nurse Ruth Barwick has been giving children their jabs for two decades.
Sometimes the parent needs support as much as the child, she said.
“The more that are vaccinated the better for everyone, by providing a service like ours that’s friendly and open with no appointments it encourages people to come in,” she said.
“It’s a free service and we’re all nurse immunisors so every client has two nurses to them and there’s no pressure on the client to hold their babies.”
She’s seen just one case of anaphylactic reaction to vaccines in 20 years.
The most common side effects are a bit of a temperature or a red lump at the site of the injection.