SA councils pledge to bolster vaccination

South Australian councils have signed an agreement with the state government to achieve high vaccination coverage and enhance immunisation services across the state.

A Memorandum of Understanding signed last month between the SA Health Minister and the state’s peak local government body formalises administrative arrangements between the parties and signals their commitment to ensure a safe, comprehensive and effective vaccination regime in the state.

“Immunisation is simple, safe and effective way of protecting people against harmful diseases before they come in contact with them in the community. Immunisation not only protects individuals but also others in the community by reducing the spread of disease,” the MoU signed on April 12 says.

It says Australia has one of the most successful childhood vaccination programs in the world and as a result deaths from  tetanus, diptheria, influenza and measles are extremely rare.

Under the agreement, both parties pledge to agree to meet demand for vaccination services “to achieve and maintain high vaccine coverage rates” and reduce the risk of preventable disease.

They also undertake to establish a joint working group which will “focus on developing mutually agreed strategies to enhance immunisation service provision.”

The agreement has also seen the state’s local government peak agree to support councils to ensure the “maintenance or improvement” of immunisation rates in the community.

South Australian councils have been delivering immunisation services since the 1930s.

South Australian councils have been delivering immunisations services since the 1930s when children were vaccinated against tetanus and whooping cough, and adolescent services since the early 1970s with the provision of the rubella vaccine for school girls.

Currently, councils in SA deliver approximately 20 per cent of childhood vaccines and 90 per cent of adolescent vaccines through the school immunisation program.

As part of the agreement, LGASA will help councils address and respond to “deficits” in vaccination coverage, while also ensuring they consider opportunities to enhance existing services and consider opportunities for efficiencies in the delivery of vaccines.

Minister to ‘promote’ vaccination

The Minister for Health and Wellbeing undertakes to ensure the state’s immunisation program is safe while promoting services and the services of its providers.

The Minister will support vaccination programs by ensuring adequate resources are given to providers and providing a phone based advisory service for the public and for clinicians.

The state will also maintain a vaccination record system and provide regular updates on performance of local government areas in the school immunisation program.

Under the agreement, the peak will also ensure that councils understand the requirement to promote immunisation under the national program.

“The purpose of this MOU is to provide greater certainty to councils about the delivery of their existing immunisation services, and provide a collaborative mechanism for joint system planning and monitoring, and mutual accountability,” LGASA President Sam Telfer told Government News.

“It also describes how the LGA will support councils participating in and delivering immunisation services in their communities.”

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