Support sought to boost immunisation catch-up
The support of immunisation providers and GPs is being sought to promote a program that strengthens young children's resistance to pneumococcal disease.
The call for support comes as the program passes its halfway mark.
The program offers a single dose of the vaccine Prevenar 13 free to children aged between 12 and 35 months who have completed primary vaccination with the vaccine's predecessor, Prevenar.
The catch-up program, which ends September 30, was introduced last year after Prevenar 13 replaced Prevenar on the National Immunisation Program. Prevenar provided protection against 7 serotypes that caused invasive pneumococcal disease. Prevenar 13 guards against an additional 6 serotypes.
Children who have already received one or more doses of Prevenar 13 or the 10-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (10vPCV, Synflorix) are ineligible for the free supplementary dose.
Immunisation providers are being encouraged to:
- check the immunisation history of potential program candidates and offer the vaccine to those who meet its eligibility criteria
- send reminder letters to patients who have children eligible for the supplementary dose
- access promotional material offered by Pfizer to support the program.
In cases where a child is being considered for both Prevenar 13 and influenza vaccination, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation recommends there be at least 3 days between the administration of Prevenar 13 and the influenza vaccine.