The topic that is to be discussed is policies related to immunization. The two policies that have been selected are the National Immunization Program and the No Jab No Pay policy.
What do these policies aim to achieve?
The national immunization program was set up in 1997 by the Commonwealth and state and territory governments. The program mainly aims to eradicate diseases by providing vaccines to people of all ages. It is through immunization that the disorders do not spread, and the community is healthy and safe. Immunization is a simple and effective way that can stop the spread of diseases among the population. Outbreaks generally occur when the rate of immunization is low. Almost all the countries in the world strive to get the population immunized. Therefore, NIP aims at providing free vaccines to people of all ages. The vaccines available under this policy are free for children, adults, and older Australians. It also targets those who are at a greater risk for certain diseases. A series of vaccines have been made available specially for children and women. The rate of contraction of diseases can only be hindered by proving vaccines. In recent schedule changes in 2017, meningococcal vaccines have been introduced for fatal and responsible adults for meningitis deaths. According to the Australian Government Health department of health, the national immunization rates have been covered by 90%(Australian Government health department, 2018). These policies make sure that maximum numbers of children including indigenious and non indegenious must receive vaccines. The diseases like Polio, Hepatitis B have long term effects on the body and in the growing years , doses of vaccines work to eradicate the virus from the body. The recent threat to adults is the HPV virus which causes cancer. NIP is working towards driving this virus out through awareness and provisions to avail the vaccines by the youth of the country.
The No Jab No Pay policy was introduced in Australia in January 2016. The policy aimed at targeting vaccine-hesitant families. It worked on three spheres, Child Care Benefit, the Child Care Rebate, and the Family Tax Benefit. The procedure mainly focuses on providing vaccines to the children who cannot afford them or have no access to the vaccination centers. The eradication of the diseases is only possible through immunization, and this policy works on providing such vaccines. These are implemented for parents whose children are not fully immunized or are not on a recognized catch-up schedule. The maximum age of children was decided to be 20. The policy also covers imposing fines on childcare centers that admit unvaccinated children. With the No Jab No Pay policy in Australia, there was a small but increased number of vaccinations. The western part of Australia saw significant growth in immunization rate after the implication of the above explains policy(Armiento et al., 2020).
How do these policies recognize the principles of health promotion and primary health care?
Primary health care is the main center where the policies can be enforced to get better results in respective health issues. The policies have been attained by the health care and they are making sure that the vaccines are provided to all. Immunization is the only way the society can survive from pandemic. These policies work on availing the vaccines to the general public. These policies widely recognize the principles of health care at primary level. NIP identifies the health policies at a broader term. The policies include providing immunization to all sections of society. It has policies for children, adults, and aged people. The immunization is supplied according to the age group and risk factors. The NIP is also responsible for creating awareness among the indigenous Australians about immunization. It works on bridging the gaps between the overall population and vaccination. Giving information about the availability and the importance of the vaccine for future development also comes under these policies. It creates awareness as well and also makes sure that health centers follow the provided norms of the immunization process. According to the report by Hendry and his team, the vaccination rates increased by 9% within the time limit of 8 years(Hendry et al., 2018). This infers that the quality of immunization has increased in the last few years, and it has been well implemented in Australia’s aboriginal families. The No Jab No Pay policy has included child health as their main concern. They have made sure that even parents must be involved in it. Awareness among the parents is necessary. The understanding can help them guide what is to be done in regard to the immunization. The indigenous and non-indigenous parents both have vehemently supported the policy. It has bought quite a lot of change in the working of health centres and hospitals. Health centres are to be penalized if they admit or treat unimmunized children(Trent et al., 2019). Overall it can be concluded that NIP and the No Jab No Pay Policy is making all possible ways to provide protection from diseases to the community on a broader basis.
Could you utilize these policies with the children and families with these health issues?
These two policies can be fully utilized for the advocacy of health in children and adults. The National Immunisation Program is helpful in providing vaccines to eligible people This includes indegenous and non indegenous Australians. They are provided free to adults with risk and also to older people. According to the Victorian health services, Vaccines for Zoster have been enacted for the adults and the people above 70 years of age. Similarly, the Pneumococcal vaccine has been provided by NIP for non indigenous people ranging from 70 years of age and to patients who are at a higher risk. For pregnant women, the pertussis vaccine is provided free of cost in every stage of pregnancy(Victorian health services, 2017).
As far as the children are concerned, immunization is very important. To increase childhood immunization, the children must be provided vaccines according to the norms of NIP. Childhood immunization, the vaccines for diseases include Polio, mumps, measles, rubella, chicken pox, and few more. Some additional vaccines are required for the indegenous children from north Australia, Queensland and south Australia. The rate of the success of immunization process reflects the efficiency of the healthcare system of the respective country.
NIP is also working towards the immunization of the permanent migrants who enter on a yearly basis. The number of immigrants who come for occupational purposes or for education is vast. The Australian policies are trying to work out in such a way so that the immigrant’s cab also facilitates the vaccines, thereby decreasing the risk of infection and diseases. NIP has been proved as one of the most successfully funded immunization programs in the world(Kpozehouen et al., 2016).
No Jab No Pay policy has been found to be beneficial for children of the country. The parents supported the policy, and it has been observed that the parents were willing to get their children vaccinated under the policy’s norms. This was observed as a primary outcome, and a reconsideration of previously objected vaccination due to hesitation was the secondary outcome. In Australia, lack of getting to medical facilities, lack of social support, and other economic problems lead to incomplete vaccination. Apart from this, there are concerns about immunization that influence low-income groups and mainly women. It was due to the No Jab, No Pay policy, that has made it possible to get immunization without any problems and had an overall positive outcome(Thomas et al., 2018).
Are these policies applicable to address health issues relating to Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander families?
Health issues regarding Aboriginals have been an issue for the government of Australia. Aboriginals are more prone to having the risk of diseases as compared to non-indigenous Australians. Therefore, it becomes important for the government to enact policies that will help the community. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can access vaccines free of cost due to the National Immunisation Program. Awareness regarding the diseases and the identification of the barrier is important. The removal of barriers can help families access vaccination. It is provided to them so that people can be protected from diseases. The children under the age of five receive all vaccines free of cost under the NIP. Apart from these children, the children of age five years or under have been given vaccines for diseases such as Pneumococcal disease, Hepatitis, and Influenza. Even new vaccines have been made available through NIP. The vaccines include HPV, Zoster, Pertussis vaccine for pregnant women, and meningococcal for infants(Beard and Clark, 2019). According to the reports of Brotherton and her colleagues in her journal, the death rate of cancer in the cervix of women in indigenous community is four times more than that of the non-indigenous women. The NIP has worked towards providing HPV vaccination to the adults that have effectively lowered the rates of death as compared to the earlier data(Brotherton et al., 2019). The NIP has provided access to the aboriginals for availing vaccines for their protection from the diseases. The equity has led to self-determination among themselves and has provided them with the opportunity to live in a society with equality.
The No Jab No Pay policies have been effective in providing vaccines to the indigenous children who are at a larger risk of being infected with the disease as compared to the indigenous kids. The indigenous kids and women have access to getting the vaccines for Pertussis, Zoster, and many more. The indigenous families who are poor and do not have access to costly health facilities can get helped through this policy.
The No Jab No Pay policy by the Australian Government that has been implemented and received support that helped in improving vaccinations. Altogether, both the mentioned policies work on improving public health by providing vaccines, immunization, and among the community. The process of immunization is listed as important because it affects the population and therefore it holds an important issue in public health care.
Armiento, R., Hoq, M., Kua, E., Crawford, N., Perrett, K.P., Elia, S., and Danchin, M. (2020). Impact of Australian mandatory ‘No Jab, No Pay’ and ‘No Jab, No Play’ immunization policies on immunization services, parental attitudes to vaccination and vaccine uptake, in a tertiary pediatric hospital, the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. Vaccine, [online] 38(33), pp.5231–5240. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X20307611. [ Accessed 6 September. 2020].
Australian Government Department of Health. 2018. National Immunisation Program. [online] Australian Government Department of Health. Available at: https://www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/national-immunisation-program#why-is-nip-important [Accessed 7 Sep. 2020].
Beard, F.H. and Clark, K.K. (2019). High rates of vaccination of Aboriginal and Torres Strait FIslander Australians: an underappreciated success? Medical Journal of Australia, 211(1), pp.17–18 Available at: https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2018/209/1/closing-vaccination-coverage-gap-new-south-wales-aboriginal-immunisation [Accessed 6 September. 2020].
Hendry, A.J., Beard, F.H., Dey, A., Meijer, D., Campbell-Lloyd, S., Clark, K.K., Hull, B.P. and Sheppeard, V. 2018. Closing the vaccination coverage gap in New South Wales: the Aboriginal Immunisation Healthcare Worker Program. Medical Journal of Australia, [online] 209(1), pp.24–28. Available at: https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2018/209/1/closing-vaccination-coverage-gap-new-south-wales-aboriginal-immunisation [Accessed 7 September 2020].
Kpozehouen, E., Heywood, A.E., Kay, M., Smith, M., Paudel, P., Sheikh, M. and MacIntyre, C.R. 2016. Improving access to immunisation for migrants and refugees: recommendations from a stakeholder workshop. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, [online] 41(2), pp.118–120. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5396309/ [ accessed 7 September. 2020]
Thomas, S., Cashman, P., Islam, F., Baker, L., Clark, K., Leask, J., Butler, R. and Durrheim, D.N. 2018. Tailoring immunisation service delivery in a disadvantaged community in Australia; views of health providers and parents. Vaccine, [online] 36(19), pp.2596–2603. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X18304419 [Accessed 8 September, 2020].
Trent, M.J., Zhang, E.J., Chughtai, A.A. and MacIntyre, C.R. 2019. Parental opinions towards the “No Jab, No Pay” policy in Australia. Vaccine, 37(36), pp.5250–5256. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2019.07.066 [Accessed 8 September 2020]
Victorian Health services. 2017. Information about NIP and State-funded vaccine programs for eligible adults for health professionals. [online] www2.health.vic.gov.au. Available at: https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/immunisation/adults/nip-and-state-funded-vaccines [Accessed 8 Sep. 2020].
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