Funding Boost To Improve Immunisation Coverage

Victorian researchers will receive a funding boost to determine the best methods to overcome barriers that prevent Victorian children from being fully vaccinated.

The $290,000 grant for the Immunisation Behaviour Change project comes from the Andrews Labor Government’s Public Sector Innovation Fund, established to test new approaches to complex policy problems.

As part of the project, the Labor Government will work with researchers at Monash University to design and test interventions to improve immunisation coverage in Victoria.

We know that there are currently a number of barriers preventing families from vaccinating their children including:

  • Simply forgetting when a child’s vaccination is due
  • Language barriers
  • Mistrust of government information within some communities
  • Complicated permission processes at secondary schools

This project will identify possible interventions to help overcome these barriers, and then run a series of four scientific trials to determine how well they work.

For example, students in Year 7 are currently offered free vaccination against Human Papillomavirus (HPV), whooping cough, diphtheria, tetanus and chickenpox.

A completed consent form must be returned to school in time for the vaccination session and requires coordination between local councils, schools, students and parents.

One of the trials will test innovative methods for simplifying the steps in this consent process. The trials will be carried out over the next two years with outcomes implemented from 2018.

Currently, around 93 per cent of Victorian children under five are fully vaccinated, but more needs to be done to reach 95 per cent coverage necessary to halt the spread of dangerous and virulent diseases such as measles.

Other recent Innovation Fund grant recipients include Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre to enable real-time access to crisis accommodation information and the Neighbourhood Justice Centre to implement a safer online Family Violence Intervention Order application process.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy

“We know there are barriers that prevent parents from getting their children vaccinated, and we want to do everything we can to help overcome those barriers.”

“We want to ensure as many children as possible are immunised against serious and life-threatening illnesses.”

Quotes attributable to Special Minister of State Gavin Jennings

“We’re finding new and innovative ways of improving outcomes for Victorians. These approaches give us another tool to improve immunisation rates and reduce the incidence of preventable diseases.”