Australia is a country of people who have come from various backgrounds. There are indigenous communities like Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders and there are non-indigenous people also. The nation also consists of migrants and refugees who have come here from elsewhere and now are situated in the country itself. Therefore, it is the duty of the government to look after its citizen and to prevent them from dangerous diseases and illnesses (Kpozehouen et al. 2017; Mahimbo, Seale, Smith and Heywood 2017; Heywood and López-Vélez 2019; Ozawa et al. 2019). For that, the government of Australia has started two Immunisationpolicies. One of them is no-jab, no-pay policy. This policy states that only those parents whose children are below the age of 20 years and are completely immunised or are on a list of catch-up immunization, they can only gain Child Care Benefit. The parents will also be getting the Family Tax Benefit part A and the Child Care Rebate. The vaccines are those which came within the National ImmunisationProgram (NIP) and are given before the age of five to the child. The record of the vaccination should be maintained and recorded in the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register (ACIR). The policies also talked about the children who have natural immunity or have medical contradictions for some diseases. It has been said that these children will be exempted from the obligations. The guidelines of no-jab, no-pay has also discussed children getting their catch-up immunisation who are below ten years of age. They are also paying attention to the teenagers and young children who are between the age of ten and nineteen (Department of Health, Australian government 2020). The other policy introduced by the Australian government was NIP. It was commenced in the year 1997 by Commonwealth and territory and state government of Australia. The goal of this policy is to enhance immunisation in the whole country and to decrease the rates of death which could be easily be prevented by vaccination in the country. NIP has various profits as it gives the citizen of Australia free of cost vaccines who can help in reducing the rates of diseases. With that, this policy also provides extra support and help to those people who have already existing medical conditions and to those who are very much vulnerable to diseases which can be stopped with the help of vaccination. This policy benefits all the people from every age group. It provides vaccine to babies, to teenagers and young children and to middle age and older Australians (Department of Health, Australian government 2020).
The no-jab, no-pay policy recognizes the principle of health promotion and primary health care by looking after the vaccination of children who are below the age of ten and also for the individuals who are in between the age of ten to nineteen years. For children less than the age of ten and who have not received few vaccines, it is stated in the policies that they should be provided with those particular vaccines that they have missed by catch-up program which come under the NIP guidelines. This catch-up program is free for children and young individuals. The policies also talked about people in the age group 10-19. For them, it is mentioned that they should be given alternative vaccines for those vaccinations that they have missed but here the period of availing the vaccines is time-limited. These vaccines will be provided to the people in need by territory or state ordering system. For this age group, multiple vaccines are provided for example vaccines of poliomyelitis, Hepatitis B, MenCCV, Pneumococcal, MMR and Varicella. No-jab, no-pay will also provide people with multiple doses of vaccines by seeing their requirement until they are not considered completely immunised (Department of Health, Australian government 2020). In addition to this, NIP also promotes health and primary health care. It provides multiple vaccines free of cost to people so that they do not feel the financial burden of buying the vaccines. The vaccines which are covered in this program are for a disease like hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenza type B, diphtheria, pertussis, polio, rotavirus, pneumococcal, measles, rubella, meningococcal ACWY, mumps, human papillomavirus, and shingles. NIP focuses on all the age groups. This program has immunization for the just born children to older adults. It also emphasizes on pregnant women, refugees and humanitarian entrants. NIP with that, also pay attention to catch-up programs so that no citizen of Australia remain non-vaccinated. Moreover, NIP also focuses on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their health. They have some extra vaccines for the indigenous people for example 13vPCV and 23vPCV. It also mentioned about individuals who are already suffering from diseases. NIP provides people with the schedule of vaccine and the number of doses so that it cannot be missed by them (Department of Health, Australian government 2020).
The policies no-jab, no-pay and NIP could be used to advocate for children and families who are suffering from health problems. No-jab, no-pay discusses vaccinations that could be given to children which are clinically recommended for them. It also provides a plan for the administrating the required number of doses to children and young individuals. With that, it also gives knowledge about the minimum interval which should be kept between two consecutive doses. This policy focuses on the prevention of children from the disease that could happen to them or those have already occurred. For those problems, the policy has initiated the catch-up program in accordance with the individual age and also with the doses required. No-jab, no-pay policy moreover speaks about keeping a record of the immunizations that have been done (Department of Health, Australian government 2020). NIP policy talks about childhood immunisation coverage. They have their target set on unvaccinated individuals which consist of children who are very young. Another goal is to provide vaccine to people who are unable to avail the vaccine due do multiple reasons such as medical reasons which are underlying and problematic for them. This coverage policy also focuses on people on whom the previous immunisation did not work and they are in need to vaccine again. Their aim is to cover at least 95% of the population so that herd immunity could be gained within the population and diseases which are preventable from vaccines could be stopped such as measles (Department of Health, Australian government 2020). The coverage rates for all the one year were 94.20% in June 2020. The rate was 91.68% and 94.77% for two and five years old respectively by 2020 (Department of Health, Australian government 2020).
These two policies are very much applicable to address the health issues face by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. No-jab, no-pay policy help the indigenous people to get the vaccination for their children and this would, in turn, help them to avail benefits like Child Care, Child Care Rebate and the Family Tax Benefit Part A. This will also help parents to get access to the opportunities so that their child could get vaccinated if they are not completely vaccinated. It will provide indigenous children to be immunised from dangerous diseases such as hepatitis B and polio and so on. With that, this policy will help them to catch-up the vaccines that the indigenous children might have missed. It will also help these community people to know when the vaccines are due and what should be the correct time for administrating the vaccines. This particular policy does not differentiate in non-indigenous and aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people or their children and hence provide equal opportunity to get all the vaccines which come under NIP. It provides rights to the people of indigenous communities so that they could make use of the chances which could improve their health status and quality of life (Department of Health, Australian government 2020). The NIP policy laid special emphasis on the health of the people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. They have provided different vaccines for the people by looking at their health status and the gap which is there in the health of indigenous and non-indigenous people. It can also be seen via statistics that life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is less than that of non-indigenous people (Thompson, Gee and Talley 2018). So for that, NIP has formulated a vaccination plan for indigenous community people which states that infants should be given hepatitis B vaccine as soon as they are born or within a day. It also mentioned about giving vaccines of rotavirus and hepatitis A and the time of their doses. NIP stated that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be given a dose of 13vPCV and 23vPCV. It also has focused on older people who are about seventy years old. Their main concern was also pregnant women and their health and immunisation status. The vaccine of meningococcal B is also made available for indigenous children who are below two years of age. It also funds for people's vaccine from every age group and who are suffering from asplenia, pneumococcal, complement deficiency and hyposplenia. Therefore, special attention is given to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people(Department of Health, Australian government 2020).
Department of Health, Australian government. 2020. Childhood immunisation coverage. Retrieved from https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/childhood-immunisation-coverage[Accessed on 13 September 2020]
Department of Health, Australian government. 2020. Immunisation coverage rates for all children. Retrieved from https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/childhood-immunisation-coverage/immunisation-coverage-rates-for-all-children[Accessed on 13 September 2020]
Department of Health, Australian government. 2020. National Immunisation Program Schedule. Retrieved from https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation/immunisation-throughout-life/national-immunisation-program-schedule [Accessed on 13 September 2020]
Department of Health, Australian government. 2020. No Jab, No Pay – New Immunisation Requirements for Family Assistance Payments. Retrieved from https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/no-jab-no-pay-fsheet.pdf [Accessed on 13 September 2020]
Department of Health, Australian government. 2020.NationalImmunisation Program. Retrieved from https://www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/national-immunisation-program [Accessed on 13 September 2020]
Heywood, A.E. and López-Vélez, R., 2019.Reducing infectious disease inequities among migrants. Journal of Travel Medicine, vol.26, issue.2, p.131. https://doi.org/10.1093/jtm/tay131
Kpozehouen, E., Heywood, A. E., Kay, M., Smith, M., Paudel, P., Sheikh, M., and MacIntyre, C. R. 2017.Improving access to immunisation for migrants and refugees: Recommendations from a stakeholder workshop. Australian and New Zealand journal of public health, vol. 41, issue.2, pp.118–120.https://doi.org/10.1111/1753-6405.12602
Mahimbo, A., Seale, H., Smith, M. and Heywood, A., 2017. Challenges in immunisation service delivery for refugees in Australia: A health system perspective. Vaccine, vol.35, issue.38, pp.5148-5155.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2017.08.002
Ozawa, S., Yemeke, T.T., Evans, D.R., Pallas, S.E., Wallace, A.S. and Lee, B.Y., 2019.Defining hard-to-reach populations for vaccination. Vaccine, 37(37), pp.5525-5534.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2019.06.081
Thompson, G.N., Gee, C. and Talley, A.N., 2018. Indigenous health: One gap is closed. The Medical Journal of Australia, vol.209,issue.1, pp.14-15..
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