National Immunisation Programme Essay

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Australia currently has a free National Immunisation program for all children (0-15) and at risk groups (pregnant, Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and over 65’s) that hold a Medicare card, permanent visa or classed as an asylum seeker.

From January 2016 the government is implementing reforms (subject to passage of legislation) to strengthen the immunisation requirements to receive childcare assistance and FTB Part A Supplement. Vaccine objection will no longer be an exemption category. Families with children that do not have a medical exemption (medical contraindication or natural immunity certified by an immunisation provider) will not receive childcare assistance or FTB Part A Supplement. (Guides.dss.gov.au, 2015)

To incentivise families
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Their budget measure purports that these reforms will save the government $508 million by 2019. This equates to approximately 9,000 families not receiving FTB Part A Supplement and child care benefits and increasing immunisation rates from an average of 91.6% of all children being fully vaccinated (Immunise.health.gov.au, 2015) to 99.6% (assuming 78% of objectors and 100% of those under vaccinated will immunise). To help reach these levels the government will invest $26 million into programs to encourage immunisation, improving vaccine registers, incentives to doctors to target the unimmunised and running an information campaign.

In order to protect the entire population it is calculated that 95% of people must be vaccinated. By the government implementing these reforms and increasing the immunisation rates to help eradicate communicable disease, which is in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) strategy of global eradication of Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR) where by 2020 to achieve a minimum of 95% immunisation coverage and to then establish a target date for the global eradication of rubella and CRS (Congenital Rubella Syndrome) (WHO, 2012), the benefit to the community is greater than the benefit to the

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