Child immunisation changes

CHILD immunisation arrangements in Australia will change as the Federal Government aims to reform arrangements and increase rates.

The government announced today a five-point strategy it will undertake to achieve this aim.

According to the government, immunisation remains the safest and most effective way for parents to protect their children from disease.

In Australia, currently about 9 in 10 children are immunised. But, currently 8 per cent of one year olds, 7 per cent of two year olds, and 11 per cent of five year olds are not immunised - which is a real risk to their health and to the health of other children.

The Federal Government will take the following actions:

From July 1, 2012, families will need to have their children fully immunised to receive the $726 Family Tax Benefit Part A end-of-year supplement. The supplement, worth $726 per child each year, will now only be paid once a child is fully immunised at one, two and five years of age.

A new immunisation check will be introduced for one year olds to supplement the existing immunisation checks at two and five years of age.

This means that over the three immunisation check points, families will have an incentive of more than $2,100 to ensure their child is fully immunised.

Children will for the first time be required to receive vaccines for meningococcal C, pneumococcal and varicella (chicken pox).

A combination vaccine will replace individual doses of vaccine for measles, mumps, rubella and varicella (chicken pox) - which means children will be immunised against measles, mumps and rubella earlier, at 18 months instead of the current four years of age.

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Families are already required to have their child fully immunised to receive Child Care Benefit and the Child Care Rebate.

In addition, the Government is launching a campaign to advise parents and healthcare providers on how to protect babies from whooping cough.

Any Rockhampton region residents who wish to share their views on the changes in the newspaper can contact reporter Kerri-Anne Mesner on 4930 4251 after 1pm on Monday.

Topics:  federal government jenny macklin nicola roxon

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