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Thursday, 16 October 2003
Page: 21645

Ms GILLARD (2:27 PM) —My question is again to the Minister for Health and Ageing. I refer to your last answer, Minister, and I ask you to confirm that the recommendation of the National Health and Medical Research Council is that all Australian babies be given the new vaccine against the deadly pneumococcal disease. Minister, what do you say to the parents of a newborn child who are told by their doctor that the vaccine is recommended for their infant, but who are also told that it will cost $500 to vaccinate their newborn baby and who are simply not able to afford to do so?

Mr ABBOTT (Minister for Health and Ageing) —If the child is in a high-risk category, that vaccination is funded by the federal government. As for the recommendation of the expert committee, the government is still considering it.

The SPEAKER —Before I recognise the member for Ryan, I point out to the member for Lalor that her question was directed to the minister and not to the chair.