Government childhood immunisation programs
A report issued on 11 March has demonstrated that the Government’s National Immunisation Program has produced the highest ever childhood vaccination rates leading to declining rates of disease in Australian children.
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14 March 2005
A report issued on 11 March has demonstrated that the Government's National Immunisation Program has produced the highest ever childhood vaccination rates leading to declining rates of disease in Australian children.
The report, Vaccine Preventable Diseases and Vaccination Coverage in Australia 2001-2002, released by the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance of Vaccine Preventable Diseases, found targets of 90 per cent of children fully immunised for age set under the Immunise Australia Program had been exceeded.
The report also stated that Australian vaccination coverage targets are close to their highest achievable levels in children.
This is testimony to the efforts of general practitioners and other immunisation providers who have actively implemented and promoted the Government’s strategy to increase childhood immunisation rates.
Australia continues to have an enviably high vaccination coverage rate in children. To the end of 2004, 91.2 per cent of Australian children aged 12-15 months were fully immunised.
The report examined eight vaccine preventable diseases - diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), measles, mumps, rubella and polio - and found an overall decline in the number of cases for all eight diseases and the lowest notifications on record in Australia for measles, mumps, rubella and Hib.
The new $178 million National Childhood Pneumococcal Vaccination Program commenced on 1 January this year and the $298 million National Meningococcal C Vaccination Program is now into its third year and has already led to a reduction in the number of meningococcal disease cases in Australia.
In addition, the Government has announced the introduction of free chickenpox (varicella) vaccine for all babies and for at-risk teenagers and the replacement of oral polio vaccine with injectable inactivated polio vaccine. These two new vaccinations will commence on 1 November 2005 at a cost of $143.2 million over five years.
In 1996, Australian Government spending on vaccines was $13 million. National Immunisation Program spending in 2005-06 will reach $292 million, a 22-fold increase.
The report is available at www.aihw.gov.au
For more information call Mr Abbott's office on ph 02 6277 7220.
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