The Liberal National Government has launched a new immunisation initiative, providing free influenza vaccinations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and investing $12 million in a national advertising blitz.
Federal Member for Stirling Michael Keenan today welcomed the announcement and said it’s the first time influenza vaccines will made be available for these children at no cost, through the National Immunisation Program.
“This new measure will mean nearly 170,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and adolescents will be able to access the flu vaccine for free,” Mr Keenan said.
“These children and adolescents are at a higher risk of influenza infection and are more likely to be hospitalised with the disease.”
“The flu is both infectious and preventable, and this new initiative will make it easier for families in the Stirling electorate to protect themselves, and others, against the flu this winter,” Mr Keenan said.
The announcement follows a recommendation from independent medical experts at the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) and contributes to the Liberal National Government’s Close the Gap agenda.
Health Minister Greg Hunt also today announced a further $12 million will be invested in expanding the Get the Facts about Immunisation campaign to television advertisements, which aims to reinforce the health benefits of vaccinations.
“This shows our Government’s commitment to supporting parents make informed decisions by providing evidence based information about immunisation,” Minister Hunt said.
“I’m proud to say that Australia’s child immunisation rates are at record levels. The latest data shows the nationwide immunisation rate for five-year-olds was 94.62 per cent, which is the highest figure on record.”
Last year, the Liberal National Government increased protection for Australians from vaccine preventable diseases with the addition of a number of new vaccines on the National Immunisation Program.
- Young Australians are better protected against Human papillomavirus, with the introduction of a new vaccine protecting against 9 types of the virus
- People aged over 65 can access new, advanced seasonal influenza vaccines
- Expectant mothers can protect themselves and their newborn babies against whooping cough with the listing of the pertussis vaccines through a $39.5 million investment
- Every 12 month old is now also offered a free A, C, W and Y strain meningococcal vaccine
The Liberal National Government has invested $446.5 million in the National Immunisation Program this financial year. We look to the future to ensure we continue to guard Australians.
The new National Immunisation Strategy 2019-24 can be accessed at: https://beta.health.gov.au/resources/publications/national-immunisation-strategy-for-australia-2019-to-2024