News

Flu vaccinations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children


Paul Hayes


18/02/2019 12:58:18 PM

The Federal Government has committed to ensuring 170,000 children and adolescents are vaccinated against the flu for free.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience a significantly higher burden from influenza infection and are much more likely to be hospitalised with the disease.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience a significantly higher burden from influenza infection and are much more likely to be hospitalised with the disease.

‘I am delighted to announce that seasonal influenza vaccines will be available at no cost through the National Immunisation Program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and adolescents for the first time,’ Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said.
 
‘This means all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children six months of age to 14-year-olds will now be able to receive a seasonal influenza vaccine at no cost through our national program, making it easier for parents and providers.’
 
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people experience a significantly higher burden from influenza infection and are much more likely to be hospitalised with the disease.
 
According to Minister Hunt, the funding announcement follows a recommendation from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) and contributes to the Government’s Close the Gap agenda.
 
Last week’s updated Closing the Gap Report 2019 found just two of the agenda’s seven targets – halving the year 12 attainment rate and enrolling 95% of four-year-old Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in early childhood education by 2025 – are set to be achieved.
 
In addition to the free flu vaccinations, Minister Hunt released the National Immunisation Strategy 2019–24, which has eight priority areas for action by governments, health providers and the community:

  • Improve immunisation coverage
  • Ensure effective governance of the National Immunisation Program
  • Ensure secure vaccine supply and efficient use of vaccines for the National Immunisation Program
  • Continue to enhance vaccine safety monitoring systems
  • Maintain and ensure community confidence in the National Immunisation Program through effective communication strategies
  • Strengthen monitoring and evaluation of the National Immunisation Program through assessment and analysis of immunisation register data and vaccine-preventable disease surveillance
  • Ensure an adequately skilled immunisation workforce through promoting effective training for immunisation providers
  • Maintain Australia’s strong contribution to the region
‘I am a strong supporter of our vaccination program and last year we increased protection for Australians from vaccine-preventable diseases with the addition of a number of new vaccines on the National Immunisation Program,’ Minister Hunt said.
 
‘The latest data shows the nationwide immunisation rate for five-year-olds was 94.6%, which is the highest figure on record. This is very close to the 95% herd immunity we aim to achieve.
 
‘More than 96.6% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander five-year-olds were immunised, which is well above the national average.’



Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children flu National Immunisation Program vaccinations



Login to comment