One in four of the children who attend a Brunswick school that calls for tolerance for vaccine dodgers has contracted chickenpox.
At least 80 of the 320 pupils at Brunswick North West Primary in Melbourne’s north have become ill with the disease in the past fortnight.
It is understood the illness spread through grade 6, before making its way through the lower levels to grade 2.
The Department of Health was first notified about the chickenpox cases on November 26.
“There are no firm figures on the number of students who have contracted the illness since then, but we’ve been advised that over the period there has been an absentee rate of about 25 per cent on any given day,” a department spokesman said.
The school has a lower immunisation rate than the state and national averages.
In the May newsletter, the school’s principal Trevor Bowen said 73.2 per cent of students were immunised, compared with 92 per cent within the local postcode.
In Victoria, the rate is 90.4 per cent, the newsletter says.
The school has previously asked parents to be tolerant of those with differing opinions on immunisation and there was still evidence of tension on Thursday between parents who did and those did not vaccinate their children.
Parent Sara McKenzie vaccinated her son Wesley, who is in grade one, but that didn’t stop him getting chickenpox.
She admits she was shocked that the rates of immunisation were so low at the school.
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