AMA: Widen National Immunisation Register

11 Aug 2008

AMA President, Dr Rosanna Capolingua, today welcomed the announcement of a new national register of human papilloma virus vaccinations.

But Dr Capolingua said the $23.5 million in Federal funding earmarked for the project could be used to develop and implement a whole-of-life immunisation register.

"The National Human Papilloma Virus Register is an important part of the fight against cervical cancer, which will help remind girls and women when they need vaccine updates, and collect data on the program's effectiveness," Dr Capolingua said.

"We have a Childhood Immunisation Register that records immunisations for children up to age seven, and the National HPV register will now go forward into adulthood for that particular immunisation.

"We must consider going even further, with efficient and cost-effective use of funds to establish a complete national whole-of-life register of all immunisations for all Australians.

"There is real patient benefit in a properly administered register."

States, territories and medical groups have in the past overwhelmingly supported a whole-of-life immunisation register.

Dr Capolingua said the HPV register was a great addition, but the Federal Government needed to take action on a register that would maintain complete records.

"It would be convenient for patients and doctors, and ensure that patients were up to date and covered with immunisations, as well as reducing unnecessary duplication of vaccinations," she said.

"For example, there is no national record of who's received MMR or Hepatitis B shots at school, and who might need to receive them later in life.

"For doctors, a national whole-of-life register would provide total data to complement their patient records, and for patients, they would know that wherever and whenever in Australia they have had an immunisation, it would be recorded.

"This is an issue of considerable importance to the health of all Australians and to the Government's overall prevention agenda."

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