Delivering a Healthy WA
Disease WAtch

Year 7 school-based immunisation program

The Western Australian school-based vaccination program provides Year 7 students with free vaccinations against hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, varicella-zoster and human papilloma virus.

Vaccinations are administered in metropolitan schools by the Department of Health’s Child and Adolescent Community Health Services and some local government authorities, and in regional and remote schools by regional population health units. Since 1 July 2011, GPs in Western Australia have been able to order vaccines used in the Year 7 school immunisation program, without prior approval from the Communicable Disease Control Directorate, for vaccinating children who may have missed vaccine doses in school.

Data from the Year 7 program have been entered into a Statewide, web-based database since 2009. Below is a summary of the vaccine coverage in 2011 and some frequently asked questions regarding the program for GPs.

In 2011, more than 27,000 Western Australian Year 7 students received at least 1 vaccine as part of the program and 87.5%, 77.4%, 67.4% and 29.7% completed their adolescent vaccination(s) against dTpa, HPV (females only), HBV and VZV respectively. Uptake of all doses is depicted below.

Column graph showing the percentage of uptake of vaccines for free vaccinations against hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, varicella-zoster and human papilloma virus amongst year 7 students.

The apparent low uptake of HBV and VZV vaccines is due to the fact that many children do not require vaccination against these infections in Year 7 because they had already been vaccinated as an infant or have natural immunity to the disease.

Frequently asked questions for general practice

What is the Year 7 immunisation program?

The Year 7 immunisation program is a Commonwealth-funded school-based program which requires all states and territories to deliver the vaccine in schools. Vaccines used in the delivery of this program must be reported back to the Commonwealth. We are aware that students miss their vaccination for a variety of reasons and given that these vaccines are important in protecting the student, we now make them available to GPs for Year 7 catch up.

Where can children access the Year 7 vaccinations?

The Year 7 immunisation program is offered to the birth cohort of Year 7 students every year (e.g. for 2012, Year 7 students are born between 1 July 1999 and 30 June 2000). General practices should offer these vaccinations only when a Year 7 student did not access it through the school program. This may have been because they were absent from school the day the vaccinations were given.

What vaccinations are offered to children in the Year 7 school immunisation program?

Vaccine Brand Supplied Disease Prevented

Hep B

H-B-Vax II (Adult)

Hepatitis B

dTpa

Adacel

Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis

VZV

Varilrix

Varicella (chickenpox)

HPV (females only)

Gardasil

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

What is the current Year 7 school immunisation program schedule?

School Term Vaccine Dose

Term 1

Hep B

HPV

Dose 1

Dose 1

Term 2

Varicella

HPV (Dose 2)

 

Dose 2

Term 3

Hep B (Dose 2)

dTpa

Dose 2

Term 4

HPV (Dose 3)

Dose 3

What paper work needs to be completed by general practices after the Year 7 school vaccination program vaccinations have been administered?

The sustained affordability of this arrangement is dependent on GPs ensuring that the vaccines are used only in the eligible cohort.  School-based vaccinations should be given by the school-based team in the first instance. After administering vaccines obtained for use in the Year 7 School Vaccination Program, GPs should fax a completed Report of Government-Procured Vaccines used in General Practice for Adolescents and Adults to the Communicable Disease Control Directorate on 9388 4877. Forms are available on the Department of Health website  (Health Promotion code: HP12088)

How can practice staff determine if a child has been vaccinated at school?

  1. Practice staff can ask the parents which vaccines their child has received.
  2. The parents of children vaccinated at school are sent a note advising which vaccine/s their child has received.
  3. If a child is absent from school on the day of vaccination, the parents will be sent a letter from the school. The parents should bring this letter to the general practice when seeking catch-up vaccinations.
  4. If practice members are still unsure what to give, they should telephone the Central Immunisation Clinic on 9321 1312. The clinic can advise which vaccines the child has received at school.

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