The Immunise Australia Program funds the purchase of vaccinations to protect millions of Australians from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Immunisation is a simple, safe and effective way of protecting people against harmful diseases that can cause serious health problems in the community. Immunisation not only protects individuals from life-threatening diseases, but also dramatically reduces transmission in the community. The more people who are vaccinated, the fewer opportunities a disease has to spread. The Australian Government’s Immunise Australia Program implements the National Immunisation Program (NIP) Schedule, which currently includes vaccines against a total of 16 diseases. These include routine childhood vaccinations against diseases that were once widely fatal, such as measles, diphtheria and whooping cough (pertussis), as well as more recently developed vaccines, such as Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and the meningococcal C vaccine. The Australian Government provides funding to:
- State and territory governments to obtain vaccines listed on the NIP Schedule in accordance with the list of Designated Vaccines, as defined under the National Health (Immunisation Program – Designated Vaccines) Determination 2014 (No 1).
- The Department of Human Services to administer the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register, which records all vaccinations given to children under seven years of age, and subsidies for private consultations that involve immunisation through the Medicare Benefits Schedule.
- The Victorian Cytology Service to administer the National HPV Vaccination Program Register.
The strategic development and delivery of the Immunise Australia Program is overseen by the National Immunisation Committee (NIC). Through the Communicable Diseases Network Australia, the NIC reports to the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), the coordinating body for Australia’s national response to public health emergencies and communicable diseases. The AHPPC is chaired by the Chief Medical Officer and reports to Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council (AHMAC).
The NIC works closely with a number of key stakeholders and advisory bodies, including the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), which advises the Minister for Health on immunisation related issues, and the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA), which coordinates public programs on communicable disease surveillance, prevention and control.
The Office of Health Protection, within the Department of Health, is responsible for the development, implementation and evaluation of Australia’s national immunisation policies and programs.