NA­TION Jabs to be given for free

Townsville Bulletin - - NATION - RE­NEE VIELLARIS

A HITLIST of un­der- vac­ci­nated youth and refugees will to­day spark the Turn­bull Gov­ern­ment to an­nounce new free shots to help stave- off deadly dis­eases.

More than 100,000 Queens­lan­ders aged 10- 19 years have been iden­ti­fied by the Gov­ern­ment as hav­ing missed key vac­ci­na­tions, the sec­ond high­est in the coun­try, just be­hind NSW.

At present, if vac­ci­na­tions are missed when pro­vided at schools, par­ents have to pay for them.

For the first time, refugees and hu­man­i­tar­ian en­trants of any age will also be el­i­gi­ble for the free jabs, to in­oc­u­late against diph­the­ria, tetanus, whoop­ing cough, measles, mumps, rubella, meningo­coc­cal and hu­man papil­lo­mavirus.

The Na­tional Im­mu­ni­sa­tion Pro­gram ( NIP) will be ex­panded to in­clude about 11,000 refugees.

Ba­bies and young chil­dren in Queens­land con­tinue to be struck down by the shock­ing ill­nesses be­cause too many par­ents have re­fused to vac­ci­nate their chil­dren or the herd im­mu­nity in their area is at lower lev­els.

In Queens­land, the top five lo­cal ar­eas with the most un­der- vac­ci­nated res­i­dents in­clude the Gold Coast’s Ormeau/ Ox­en­ford ( with 4197 peo­ple); Townsville ( 3063); Spring­field/ Red­bank in Ip­swich ( 2953); Lo­gan’s Spring­wood/ Kingston ( 2681) and For­rest Lake/ Ox­ley in Bris­bane’s south­west.

Health Min­is­ter Greg Hunt said the pro­gram’s ex­pan­sion would save lives.

“Im­mu­ni­sa­tion is a sim­ple, safe and highly ef­fec­tive way to pro­tect chil­dren and adults from pre­ventable dis­eases,’’ Mr Hunt said.

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