The Sunday Telegraph and The Daily Telegraph are today launching a campaign to stop the rise in the number of children succumbing to preventable diseases because parents are failing to have them fully immunised.

Although only 1.5 per cent of parents are "vaccine refusers" or conscientious objectors, many parents are forgetful, leaving areas of NSW with vaccination rates below 85 per cent - despite the inarguable scientific proof that the vaccination program has saved thousands of lives and eradicated diseases that crippled children just a generation ago, including polio.

Despite effective vaccines, Australia has been unable to eradicate diseases such as whooping cough because some parents do not immunise, leaving small babies and children with cancer and other immune-compromising conditions vulnerable.

Nine local areas were recently identified by the National Health Performance Authority as being "at risk" of outbreaks of preventable and potentially deadly diseases such as measles and chicken pox, with vaccination rates as low as, or below, 85 per cent. A high rate of immunisation is defined as 95 per cent.