Immunization is the major intervention that impacts the cost-effectiveness of the health system, by preventing 2-3 million deaths worldwide each year. Global attempts are indispensable as an estimated 21.8 million infants worldwide that are still missing because of basic vaccines and hence reducing the risk of disability, disease, and death. From the figures of March 2015, Australian children are found to have 91.0 per cent coverage for fully vaccinated children (Forbes, McMinn & Crawford et al., 2015). The reduction in immunization is faced because of the incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases (VPD) through immunization due to the social and economic burden of those diseases. The Australian National Immunization Program (NIP) is there established to provide free access to an agreed range of vaccines as recommended by the Australian Technical Advisory Group of Immunization (ATAGI) followed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) (Attwell, Navin & Lopalco et al., 2018). The policies associated with immunization and their way towards health prevention and promotion will be discussed in this essay.
Primary healthcare services in Australia are the focused area for treating illness in earlier stages rather than the prevention of diseases. The health systems are dealt with the “disease model” to meet the community and individual health needs of the population. Health promotion is more relevant for addressing public health problems. The health scenario is positioned with the agenda of communicable diseases, re-emerging diseases, and newly emerging chronic diseases (Maltezou & Poland, 2016). One of the health promotion and prevention strategies by the government is an immunization that features the budget aiming at increasing the immunization levels and lowering the distribution of vaccine-preventable diseases.
“No Job No Pay” is the government policy introduced in April 2015 by the government to have a close look on the immunization requirements for children and young people. The immunization was given to FTB-A end-of-year supplement, Child Care Rebate (CCR), and Child Care Benefit (CCB) stating the concern of risk to non-immunized offspring to community health. There is an obligation for infants to meet vaccination programs that have been affixed to Childcare expenses since 1998 and for the FTB-A supplement from 2012 (Wattiaux, Yin & Beard et al., 2016). This includes agreeing with the elimination of a split, the Maternity Immunization payment, and immunization specific payment. Medical reasons are counted as exemptions for the objection to immunization schedules that have been attached to childcare payments. The measures taken by the government were to ensure that a significant incentive is given to the parents so that it could b ensured that children are immunized. The financial penalties were imposed for the upliftment of immunization rates and the commitment of parents who were cautious of immunizations.
Hal Willaby and Julie Leask from the University of Sydney stated that other methods that involve accessibility issues and promptness of parents should be looked after to find out effectiveness in boosting coverage rates (Safadi, Bettinger & Maturana et al., 2015). This policy also presented the role of healthcare professionals in the immunization process by stating that the chance to connect with maternities and tackle their worries. This policy included a budget of $161.8 million over five years that includes amendments to the National Immunization Program (NIP) for free vaccines. This included the extra dosage of Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Acellular Pertussis (DTaP) vaccine for an 18-year-old baby so that he/ she can be protected from whooping cough and Zostavax vaccine to prevent shingles for the 70-year-old person (Mohammed, Clarke & Koehler et al., 2018). This helped in improving immunization coverage rates mostly in adolescents and children. The government took steps at this point by making an incentive payment to immunization providers and doctors so that they can identify a child who has not been given immunization with great zeal and called them in hospital (Privor-Dumm, Poland & Barratt et al., 2020). The awareness was spread using this policy to promote the National Immunization Program (NIP) and address the concerns regarding immunization. This policy expanded for National Human Papillomavirus Vaccination Program Register so that it can include adolescents for vaccinations in the schools. Health workers were deployed to register the children for adult vaccinations (Bechini, Boccalini & Ninci et al., 2019). Hence, the policy has been run to improve the efforts in coverage rates by coupling with fiscal consequences of non-compliance with vaccination programs. The administration made this policy a successful one by encouraging vaccination and cost savings for immunization rates.
National Immunization schedule is the policy that presents the series of immunization to a child throughout their life. The range of immunization includes from birth to adulthood (Raban & Kilderry, 2017). The National Immunization Program (NIP) includes the list of vaccines that are given free of cost to patients and have a link with Medicare benefits. Medicare is the government insurance plan that includes a variety of healthcare services to all people in the country. This policy is scheduled to give the best possible protection to individuals over time by showing the exact timings when the vaccination should be given. There is a schedule card for non-Indigenous people and Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders differently (Cassidy, MacDonald & Steenbeek et al., 2016). The National Immunization Program Schedule July 2020 for all non-Indigenous people states the vaccination that has to be given at the time of birth, childhood, adolescence, adult, and pregnant women. Every vaccine dosage is stated in the policy along with the brand name. The influenza vaccine is funded by the Australian government and shared that Children from 6 months to less than 5 years of age, people 6 months and over with specified medical risk circumstances, people 65 years and over, and pregnant women have to be given the vaccination at proper timings (Bozzola & Bozzola, 2016). The non-Indigenous people under this policy are eligible to take free vaccination only up to the age of 20 years. The people who are eligible for NIP have different vaccination process as the range and dosage is stated in the policy for individuals aged less than 10 years of age and those who fall between 10-19 years of age. Although, humanitarian entrants and adult refugees are eligible to get vaccinated. The NIP policy for Indigenous people also states the immunization schedule at different timings of a person's life such as birth, childhood, adolescence, adult, and pregnant women (Yang & Studdert, 2017). The National Immunization Policy funds vaccination to individuals of all times with the specific health conditions such as asplenia/hyposplenism (MenB, MenACWY, pneumococcal, and Hib if required), complement deficiency (MenB, MenACWY), and undergoing treatment with eculizumab (MenB, MenACWY).
The health policy framework is designed to ensure health promotion and strengthening of strategic planning in public health, primary health, and health promotion within the hospital departments to support management and planning activities (Ricciardi, Toumi & Weil-Olivier et al., 2015). The reformations in healthcare are the major focus of local and regional departments for the coordination and planning of activities. The primary healthcare agencies engage service delivery and learning opportunities to give opportunities along with the interpersonal and team skills for the promotion of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders' health. The government uses to involve the population in planning and promotion activities by assessing the quality of services based on key performance indicators (Signorelli, Odone & Cella et al., 2018).
Aboriginals are the people who are suffering from poor health outcomes. The federal, state, and local governments of Australia have made efforts to focus on the health of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders, but the major problem observed was the failure of strategies (Buchan & Kwong, 2016). It has been found that there is a lack of partnerships and resources found between the Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders committee. This has impacted life expectancy and overall health and wellbeing of individuals residing in the communities. The children of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders face injustice in childhood and educational outcomes, income, housing, and access to empowerment to continue poor health outcomes for Indigenous people in Australia (Lau, Rochin & DelDot et al., 2017). Advocacy has been found as the most important service for Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders.
This essay concludes with the points that Immunization is the major intervention that impacts the cost-effectiveness of the health system, by preventing 2-3 million deaths worldwide each year. In Australia, the reduction in immunization is faced because of the incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases (VPD) through immunization due to the social and economic burden of those diseases. The government has introduced several policies for the Immunization of children and reducing the disparities between the health of indigenous and non-indigenous people. Two of them are “No Job No Pay” and National Immunization Program Schedule, National Immunization Program Schedule includes the series of immunization to a child throughout their life. The range of immunization includes from birth to adulthood. The National Immunization Program (NIP) includes the list of vaccines that are given free of cost to patients and have a link with Medicare benefits. However, “No Job No Pay” is the government policy introduced in April 2015 by the government to have a close look on the immunization requirements for children and young people to FTB-A end-of-year supplement, Child Care Rebate (CCR), and Child Care Benefit (CCB) stating the concern of risk to non-vaccinated children to public health. Advocacy performs a major role in delivering access to Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders to build a healthy nation and reduce inequities and disparities in health systems.
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