A comprehensive strategy is needed to allow all children and adults to have access to up to date vaccinations, says Public Health Association of Australia Vice President David Templeman.
This week celebrates World Immunisation Week, held by the World Health Organization from 24 – 30 April each year.
This year’s theme is Close the immunisation gap – Immunisation for all throughout life.
“Australia needs to focus on closing the immunisation gap so unnecessary sickness and death can be eradicated,” says Templeman.
“Socio-economic pressures and remoteness affects the percentage of eligible people who are not immunised. A comprehensive approach needs to be put in place so these people do not miss out on vital medicine to protect them and their family.”
As of March 2015, 91.0% of Australian children 12 – 15 months of age were considered fully vaccinated for age. Australia’s national target is 95%. The Global Vaccine Action Plan 2011 – 2020 shows one in five children are not receiving a basic set of vaccinations during infancy.
“We all want the same thing – for everyone who can be vaccinated, to be vaccinated. One of the six strategic objectives in the plan is the benefits of immunisation are equitably extended to all people. Australia has a responsibility to reach these people and ensure equality in health service and delivery,”says Templeman.
“Government needs to look at the overall picture of the small percentage who can be immunised but are not. We need to address the barriers so the minority who cannot be vaccinated are not put at risk.
“As the election approaches, it is time for the Government to consider how to increase Australia’s immunisation rates. If we can achieve a 95% immunisation rate for Australia, we can protect our children and population for the future,” he says.