Labor’s Catherine King has now reached the stage of being totally irresponsible in needlessly trying to scare parents about adolescent vaccinations.
The Government acts on advice from independent medical experts in making decisions about the National Immunisation Program.
The establishment of the Australian Schools Vaccination Register has been put on hold at this time pending further advice from independent medical experts on the vaccination needs of adolescents.
The Australian Government Chief Medical Officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, has advised me that these arrangements will have no impact on the health of adolescents because the full range of vaccination services are already being delivered to the community and will continue to do so.
The whole of life Immunisation register commenced on 30 September 2016 and this means that Australians are already being monitored for vaccines on the National Immunisation Program.
Our expert advisory committees look into when and how we best deliver all vaccines, including whooping cough, to make sure the community is protected from infectious diseases.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation is currently reviewing the whooping cough vaccine schedule at the request of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, a body completely separate to government.
What is currently underway by these independent medical experts is a review of the effectiveness of the whooping cough vaccination schedule, to make sure the best possible outcomes are delivered.
The Government will receive advice from these clinical expert groups.
The Turnbull Government is absolutely focused on delivering vaccinations across the whole of life, when and where needed, that’s why we introduced the whole of life register in September this year.
The Chief Medical Officer has also advised me that whooping cough rates fluctuate year on year, and in 2016 are around one third of those seen in 2015.
In fact, whooping cough notifications are down from 22,500 in 2015 to around 16,000 so far in 2016.
Ms King needs to give an undertaking to stop scaremongering, act responsibly and rely on the advice from independent medical experts, instead of being more interested in cheap politicking when it comes to rational discussion of the health needs of adolescents.