THE Telethon Kids Institute is hoping to show the cost benefits of providing free flu vaccines to all young children, in hopes the current WA model of vaccination may be rolled out nationally.
WA is the only state currently offering free vaccines to children aged six months to five years, with Queensland starting its own program next year.
The WA model complements the national immunisation program that offers free vaccines to children with high risk medical conditions including asthma, heart disease and cancer.
More than 180,000 people nationally were diagnosed with flu this year – but vaccination for healthy children is not funded by the National Immunisation Program.
UWA Associate Professor Chris Blyth was given $218,000 to spend over two years with his team.
They will look at the potential cost benefits if hospitalisations and emergency department visits were reduced, in addition to savings if parental absenteeism was reduced.
It will also look at the benefits of vaccinating school-aged children.
Associate Professor Blyth said routine influenza vaccination was already recommended for all children in the United States and the United Kingdom.
“This independent evaluation of the cost effectiveness of the vaccine in Australia using Australian data is the critical next step required to inform our national policy,” Associate Professor Blyth said.
The funding was presented through the Research Translation Projects program was established by the Department of Health in 2007.