According to a new report by GSK Australia, the potential benefits of revamping Australia’s National Immunisation Program (NIP) to safeguard older citizens against illness could provide a much-needed boost to the country’s healthcare system.
The report, titled Risk to Resilience: A roadmap to vaccine access for older Australians, was launched at Parliament House on Thursday, March 30, and highlighted the advantages of increased government investment in advanced vaccines and improved accessibility through a restructured NIP with a focus on the elderly.
The study’s findings indicated that regional Australians, low-income groups, and residents of South Australia and Tasmania would benefit the most.
In addition to identifying barriers to vaccination, the report calls on governments to partner with industry, technical experts, healthcare professionals and consumers to:
Increasing access to immunisation is the shot in the arm our health system needs, according to our newly launched report – #RiskToResilience.
Find out more about the opportunity the @ausgov has to increase access to adult vaccinations here: https://t.co/fGzajuSIdx pic.twitter.com/MXCaoZkctU
— GSK Australia (@GSK_AU) March 30, 2023
Professor Robert Booy, Honorary Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Sydney said that Australia has the potential to set a global example by creating and financing an immunisation program that considers the needs of its ageing population.
“The NIP has been providing funded vaccines to Australian babies and children for decades and has achieved remarkable results with diseases like polio, measles and rubella almost eliminated,’’ Booy said.
“We know what works, let’s use the NIP to remove known barriers to vaccination for Australian adults like accessibility, affordability and awareness. Let’s ensure all Australians have access to the latest innovations that will keep them living well for longer and benefitting the community, health system and economy.”
Doctor Sarah Chu, a GP with an interest in preventative health, says that ageing well shouldn’t be determined by where you live or your income.
“Preventive healthcare in Australia shouldn’t be seen as a luxury,” Chu said.
“By improving vaccine access for Australian adults, we can bridge the gap between health and wealth and ensure a healthier future for all.”
As GSK Australia advocates for improvements to the NIP, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) recently called on the Federal Government to make medicines more affordable, while also reducing the administrative burden of prescribing them.
The goal is to free up more time for general practitioners to dedicate to their patients.
.@RACGPPresident Dr Nicole Higgins says the Government should use the upcoming Federal #Budget to make medicines cheaper and more accessible: ‘It is an easy way to help Australians battling rising costs at a time when they really need it.’ https://t.co/9NUfRI8z34
— newsGP (@newsGPau) March 27, 2023
The RACGP claim that the May Budget “is an opportunity for the government to reduce cost of living pressures for Australians”.
Some of the reforms the RACGP proposes include:
RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins explained that Australia has “a cost-of-living crisis and a health system crisis on our hands”.
“People across Australia are feeling the crunch and struggling to access or afford the healthcare and medicines they need,” Higgins said.
“But there are simple reforms the government can and should make that will save patients’ money and time, as well as freeing up GPs so we can see more patients, and reducing the overall healthcare budget.