City of Wanneroo phases out free vaccination programs for children and schools

Stock image.
Stock image.

THE City of Wanneroo will phase out its free vaccination program over the next 15 months.

The council agreed on Tuesday night to cease the child immunisation clinic by December 31 this year and end the school immunisation program by the end of 2019.

A report presented at the meeting said the City had provided the immunisation program since the 1970s.

However, it said the number of GPs administering vaccinations had increased in recent years, public access to medical services had improved and the Health Department had expanded its child immunisation program.

“As a consequence, the need for local government authorities in the metropolitan area to provide immunisation programs has declined and the majority have ceased to deliver this service,” the report said.

“The City of Wanneroo, City of Joondalup and City of Bayswater are the only metropolitan local government authorities that continue to deliver an immunisation program.”

The child immunisation clinic at Wanneroo Library provides vaccinations for infants and children up to five years old once a month.

It administered 450 vaccinations to about 250 children in 2016-17 then 364 vaccinations in 2017-18.

“Census data shows that in 2016 there were 14,986 children aged zero to four years in the City of Wanneroo, indicating that 98 per cent of local children are immunised by other providers,” the report said.

It said the Health Department also operated monthly clinics in Yanchep, Banksia Grove, Merriwa, Carramar and Girrawheen and vaccinated 687 children at those sites in 2016-17.

The City’s school program gives booster vaccinations to year 8 and 10 students at 19 high schools, as well as meningococcal and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations.

A letter from the department asked the City to continue the school program to December 2019 rather than June to allow a smoother transition. It said the City was scheduling school visits for Term 1 to give Year 8 students diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis and HPV vaccinations, and ideally should book visits for the second HPV dose in Term 3 or 4.

It was also scheduling school visits for meningococcal ACWY for Year 10 students in Term 2.

The report said after the Wanneroo clinic ceased, parents could take their children to a GP, any of the department’s monthly clinics or to its central immunisation clinic in West Perth.

It said the City received a $6 subsidy from the Health Insurance Commission to administer vaccines.

The income for 2018-19 was expected to be $140,000, but the average cost of delivering the program exceeded that by $32,000 a year.