Starting this month, free childhood vaccinations will be provided to all young people as well as refugees of any age
The government has announced it is expanding the National Immunisation Program (NIP) to provide free catch-up vaccines to all young people up to age 19, as well as refugees and humanitarian entrants of any age.
There are currently more than 467,000 Australians aged between 10 and 19 years who are not fully immunised, according to the Federal Health Department.
Some young people have missed out on early childhood vaccines because of a parent’s or carer’s attitudes towards immunisation, or because they arrived in Australia as teenagers or adults, says the government.
And the vast majority of people who come to Australia as refugees or humanitarian entrants are more likely to have missed out on critical childhood vaccines, placing them and their communities at increased risk of contracting vaccine-preventable diseases.
Under the expanded NIP, more than 11,000 refugee and humanitarian entrants will be able to receive the free catch-up on early childhood vaccines.
“Immunisation is a simple, safe and highly effective way to protect children and adults from preventable diseases like measles, mumps, meningococcal, polio, whooping cough, chickenpox and human papillomavirus (HPV),” says the Health Department.
“Maintaining high levels of immunisation throughout the Australian population for ‘herd immunity’ is critically important and can protect those too young or too sick to be vaccinated.”