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Monday, 11 November 2002
Page: 6037

Senator Chris Evans asked the Minister for Health and Ageing, upon notice, on 23 September 2002:

(1) Was the inclusion of meningococcal C vaccine on the national vaccination program recommended by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation prior to the announcement of the Government on 20 August 2002.

(2) (a) At the time the Government made the announcement relating to meningococcal C vaccine, what other vaccines had the advisory group either formally recommended or otherwise indicated for inclusion in the national vaccination program; and (b) which priorities had the advisory group assigned to each of those vaccines.

(3) What is the annual cost of each of the vaccines recommended or considered by the advisory group for inclusion in the national vaccination program.

Senator Patterson (Minister for Health and Ageing) —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) Yes

(2) (a) At the time of the meningococcal announcement, the Government had not been formally advised of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation's (ATAGI) other vaccine recommendations for inclusion on the Australian Standard Vaccination Schedule. My Department formally advised me on the behalf of ATAGI of the other vaccine recommendations on 5 September 2002.

(b) My Department advised me on 5 September 2002 that ATAGI had made the following recommendations for other vaccines to be included on the Australian Standard Vaccination Schedule on the basis that they had been assessed as suitable for use on a population basis. ATAGI made reference to the relative benefits of each recommendation and included indicative program costings as follows:

ATAGI Relative benefit


Estimated cost in first year

Estimated cost in subsequent years

Greatest benefit

Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccination for people 65 years and older.



Greatest benefit

Replacement of Oral Polio Vaccine with Inactivated Polio Vaccine-containing combination vaccines at 2, 4, 6 months and 4 years of age.



Introduction of varicella vaccination at 18 months for all and at 10-13 years for children with no varicella (chickenpox) history.



Introduction of adult formulation Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis vaccine at 15-17 years.



Significant benefit

Introduction of childhood pneumococcal conjugate vaccination at 2, 4 and 6 months of age.






In addition, ATAGI had recommended that Influenza vaccination should be introduced for all Australians from the age of 50 years as a routine requirement. I have since been advised that ATAGI has rescinded this recommendation following a detailed consideration of new evidence presented at its last meeting on 23 September 2002.

(3) As above