End to free vac­cines

Wanneroo Weekender - - Front Page - Lucy Jarvis

THE City of Wan­neroo will phase out its free vac­ci­na­tion pro­gram over the next 15 months.

The coun­cil agreed on Tues­day night to cease the child im­mu­ni­sa­tion clinic by De­cem­ber 31 this year and end the school im­mu­ni­sa­tion pro­gram by the end of 2019.

A re­port pre­sented at the meet­ing said the City had pro­vided the im­mu­ni­sa­tion pro­gram since the 1970s.

How­ever, it said the num­ber of GPs ad­min­is­ter­ing vac­ci­na­tions had in­creased in re­cent years, pub­lic ac­cess to med­i­cal ser­vices had im­proved and the Health De­part­ment had ex­panded its child im­mu­ni­sa­tion pro­gram.

“As a con­se­quence, the need for lo­cal gov­ern­ment au­thor­i­ties in the met­ro­pol­i­tan area to pro­vide im­mu­ni­sa­tion pro­grams has de­clined and the ma­jor­ity have ceased to de­liver this ser­vice,” the re­port said.

“The City of Wan­neroo, City of Joon­dalup and City of Bayswa­ter are the only met­ro­pol­i­tan lo­cal gov­ern­ment au­thor­i­ties that con­tinue to de­liver an im­mu­ni­sa­tion pro­gram.”

The child im­mu­ni­sa­tion clinic at Wan­neroo Li­brary pro­vides vac­ci­na­tions for in­fants and chil­dren up to five years old once a month.

It ad­min­is­tered 450 vac­ci­na­tions to about 250 chil­dren in 2016-17 then 364 vac­ci­na­tions in 2017-18.

“Cen­sus data shows that in 2016 there were 14,986 chil­dren aged zero to four years in the City of Wan­neroo, in­di­cat­ing that 98 per cent of lo­cal chil­dren are im­mu­nised by other providers,” the re­port said.

It said the Health De­part­ment also op­er­ated monthly clin­ics in Yanchep, Banksia Grove, Mer­riwa, Car­ra­mar and Gir­rawheen and vac­ci­nated 687 chil­dren in 2016-17.

The City’s school pro­gram gives booster vac­ci­na­tions to year 8 and 10 stu­dents at 19 high schools, as well as meningo­coc­cal and hu­man pa­pil­lo­mavirus (HPV) vac­ci­na­tions.

A let­ter from the de­part­ment asked the City to con­tinue the school pro­gram to De­cem­ber 2019 rather than June to al­low a smoother tran­si­tion. It said the City was sched­ul­ing school vis­its for Term 1 to give Year 8 stu­dents diph­the­ria, tetanus and per­tus­sis and HPV vac­ci­na­tions, and ide­ally should book vis­its for the sec­ond HPV dose in Term 3 or 4.

It was also sched­ul­ing school vis­its for meningo­coc­cal ACWY for Year 10 stu­dents in Term 2.

The re­port said af­ter the Wan­neroo clinic ceased, par­ents could take their chil­dren to a GP, any of the de­part­ment’s monthly clin­ics or to its cen­tral im­mu­ni­sa­tion clinic in West Perth.

It said the City re­ceived a $6 sub­sidy from the Health In­sur­ance Com­mis­sion to ad­min­is­ter vac­cines. The in­come for 201819 was ex­pected to be $140,000, but the aver­age cost of de­liv­er­ing the pro­gram ex­ceeded that by $32,000 a year.

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