MEDIA STATEMENT - $26m booster to Immunise Australia
Improving immunisation coverage rates Fact Sheet (PDF 97 KB)
This measure will provide funding of $26.4 million over four years to increase national immunisation coverage rates. This will benefit the whole Australian community by reducing the incidence of vaccine preventable diseases.
While childhood immunisation rates in Australia are high with over 92% of five year olds fully vaccinated pockets of low coverage remain, putting those communities at risk.
Activities under this initiative will:
- provide an incentive to immunisation providers to complete “catch up” vaccinations;
- include activities to improve the community’s understanding and awareness of the National Immunisation Program; and
- broaden and improve immunisation data capture to assist immunisation providers boost coverage rates.
Incentive payments to immunisation providers
The Australian Government will provide incentives to immunisation providers to encourage them to follow up on children who are overdue for vaccinations.
From 1 July 2016, immunisation providers, including doctors, will receive an incentive payment each time they identify a child in their practice who is overdue for vaccination and call them in for catch up vaccines. This will recognise immunisation providers’ efforts to improve coverage rates, particularly in low coverage regions where there are more overdue children.
A payment will be made if a child was previously more than two months overdue for vaccination and has been subsequently caught up. $6 will be paid for each childhood schedule point caught up, a potential $36 if a child requires catch up for the full childhood schedule.
This is in addition to the notification payment immunisation providers currently receive.
The Australian Government is investing in an awareness campaign for the community to promote the importance of vaccinating and provide tools to assist immunisation providers, such as GP’s, have discussions with vaccine hesitant parents.
The communications campaign will include a wide range of activities based on comprehensive market research, and the focus of the campaign will be to increase awareness and understanding of the National Immunisation Program and address parents’ concerns regarding immunisation including dispelling common myths.
This will be supported by increased investment in tools for doctors and nurses to help them have often difficult discussions with parents. This will allow parents to make an informed decision about immunisation in combination with the ‘no jab, no pay’ measure.
Broader immunisation data capture - Australian School Vaccination Register
The first step to improve immunisation rates in adolescents and adults is to understand the current coverage of vaccines given to these groups. At present this is not well understood as there are no comprehensive national data collected for these vaccines, with the exception of Human papillomavirus (HPV). Expanding the existing National HPV Vaccine Register to become an ‘Australian School Vaccination Register’ will allow capture of all adolescent vaccines given through school-based programs. This will provide the tools needed, such as recall and reminder systems, to improve adolescent coverage rates.
This will mean that adolescent vaccinations delivered nationally in schools as part of the National Immunisation Program will be captured by the new, expanded register, including vaccinations for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough), Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine and varicella (chicken pox).
The Australian School Vaccination Register will be operational in the 2017 school year.
Families will be able to access an immunisation history record of all National Immunisation Program vaccinations given to their child in school.