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Wednesday, 31 October 1956

Dr DONALD CAMERON (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) - The honorable gentleman, I think, first brought this matter up about three weeks ago. As I explained to him then, the amount of

Salk vaccine produced by the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories is allocated fully after production, with the exception perhaps of some very small reserve, in accordance with arrangements to which all the States were parties, and which received the approval of the National Health and Medical Research Council. Some time ago the Western Australian Government made, as it was of course entitled to do, a rearrangement of the priorities according to which it would distribute the vaccine to the various areas within the State's boundaries. The administration of the vaccination programme in each State is, of course, under the control of the State government concerned, the Commonwealth Government merely supplying the quantity that has been agreed to under a formula. When that occurred the honorable gentleman took the matter up with me, and I also received a request from the Western Australian Government seeking information as to whether additional supplies could be made available to Western Australia, so that both the area originally intended to be dealt with in the vaccination programme at a certain time and the area subsequently substituted for it might both be done simultaneously. I informed the honorable gentleman then that it would probably be difficult to arrange for adequate supplies for both areas simultaneously, but that we would investigate the matter and see whether they could be made available. That has now been done. An officer of the Commonwealth Depart.ment of Health discussed the matter with the Director of the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories, with the result that a considerable number of extra doses will be available to the Western Australian Government at about the middle of next month. I am not yet certain whether this extra supply can be repeated, or whether it will be available on this one occasion only, but the honorable gentleman should be very satisfied with the result of his activities in this matter, because they have led to the provision of this extra supply of vaccine.

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