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EHA : Annual Review and Yearbook 2008
Branch Presidents’ Reports Queensland Branch (continued) Special Interest Group Report Immunisation/Communicable Diseases SIG The first CD SIG Strategy as stated in the Charter and Action Plan is as follows: * To consult and make representation on behalf of the membership to the relevant Federal and State Authorities on matters relating to the prevention and control of communicable diseases. Unfortunately last year, some of the Queensland Health decisions affecting Local Government members participating in school vaccination programs had been made without any reference to EHA. Those decisions were perceived as deficient in some areas and lacking in practicability, in relation to those who actually have to deliver the school programs. Information on the CD SIG was provided to QH but the letter from the Senior Director, Communicable Diseases Branch made it clear that EHA has no role in this area and the advice was that the LGAQ has nominated 2 Local Governments to represent Local Government on the School Based Program Advisory Group. It was further suggested that our members should contact their respective (Queensland Health) School Based Vaccination Program Coordinators This was disappointing from an EHA point of view, especially since one of the 2 named member Local Government bodies nominated by the LGAQ doesn't attend the South East Queensland School Based Vaccination Program meetings, comprising all other SEQ LGs involved in school immunisation and at which key relevant issues are discussed with Queensland Health representatives. 1) VPD - The School Based Vaccination Program for 2008 has seen the continuance of the two year HPV (Human Papiloma Virus) catch up program. For those Councils involved in the program, the 2007/2008 period has been demanding. Comments on the 2007 part of the program (please note that the comments and percentages relate to Gold Coast and are not necessarily reflective of the program in its entirety): Diptheria/Tetanus/ Pertussis Booster vaccine: The uptake of this single dose booster vaccination is considered quite low with approximately 56% student uptake of the vaccine. Perhaps this particular vaccination should be promoted more heavily within the schools to increase uptake in future years, especially in light of the outbreaks of Pertussis (whooping cough) at regular intervals on the Gold Coast. Chickenpox vaccination: This vaccination is offered to those students who had not had the disease at the time of vaccination, being Year 8 (13 year olds). National statistics show that up to 83% of the Australian population are seropositive (have had the disease) by 10 to 14 years of age (Australian Immunisation Handbook 9th Edition 2008). The vaccination is currently offered to 13 year olds, but since November 2005, also offered free of charge to 18 month olds. Uptake for Year 8s was quite low at 31%, which is indicative of the 83% referred to above; however, there is now a possibility that the 13 year old 1 dose regime may become a 2 dose regime and so there seems little liklihood that the vaccine would be phased out of the school program. Hepatitis B vaccine: This 2 dose Hepatitis B vaccination was issued to 52% (dose 1) and 42% (dose 2) of the year 8 students in 2007. Therefore, it is fair to say that at least 42% of Year 8 students received the full course Hepatitis B vaccination. The actual percentage may be higher as some students may have opted to get the second dose at their own general practitioner or they may have moved away from the City and received it elsewhere. This vaccination has been provided by GCCC to 0-1 year olds and Year 8 students since 2001. HPV vaccine: During 2007, this 3 dose vaccination was given to consenting Years 10, 11 and 12 girls. Given the high profile of this new vaccine, the uptake levels of 55%, 50%, and 50% respectively were considered quite low. Years 8, 9 and 10 will be immunised during 2008 and then the vaccine will be offered to Year 8 females only in 2009 onwards. The catch up program will be completed in December 2008 with the free HPV vaccine available until June 30th 2009. Don Deutscher mAIEH and Paul Clancy mAIEH Immunisation/Communicable Diseases SIG Convenors EHA ANNUAL REPORT 2008 29