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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 11 Hansard (Tuesday, 24 September 2019) . . Page.. 3741 ..

be accessed through GPs and a series of vaccination clinics held at university market days and across ACT colleges. The vaccination program was targeted to this age group because the evidence tells us that older teenagers are at high risk of meningococcal disease and are also most likely to spread the disease to others.

In its first year, the MenACWY adolescent vaccination program reached close to 80 per cent of the ACT year 10 student population group. Since 2018, the number of cases of meningococcal from all strains of the disease has remained very low in the ACT, with two confirmed cases since 2018.

In November 2019 the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee will reconsider a submission from a pharmaceutical manufacturer to list a MenB vaccine on the national immunisation program for the routine immunisation of infants and adolescents. The PBAC is an independent expert body that considers the clinical effectiveness, safety and value for money of medicines and vaccines in Australia. If MenB receives a positive recommendation following the evaluation of the evidence, the commonwealth will consider a national program.

Nationally introduced vaccination programs have significant advantages over individual state-based programs, including consistent messaging; timing of rollout and target age cohorts across Australia; improved ability to monitor, identify and respond to adverse events; and generally achieving higher coverage rates in the community.

Noting this development, the ACT government is looking forward to the PBAC assessment of the MenB vaccine. We will consider the information from this evaluation in future deliberations on the risks posed by the different types of meningococcal disease for our community. On this basis the ACT government will continue to invest in the adolescent MenACWY vaccination program while we await the PBAC review and continue to monitor the latest evidence, risk and patterns of disease.

I present the following paper:

Meningococcal B Vaccination Program for Babies—Update—Ministerial statement, 24 September 2019.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (10.09): I recall, back in September 2016, when this government pledged free vaccinations for Canberra babies. It appeared to be unbudgeted by treasury and was yet another one of the Labor government’s un-costed back-of-a-drink-coaster plans which it is now backing away from. As we have heard, whilst the reasons for not implementing this may be entirely valid—it could be about availability; it could be about the duration of protection; it could be about the fact that the commonwealth government is now looking at it through the PBAC—the fact remains that this government cannot be trusted on health policies.

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