Nicholas A Zwar
In contrast to generally high childhood immunisation coverage
rates across Australia, general practices in central Sydney (New
South Wales) have a below average coverage rate. To address this,
Central Sydney GP Network undertook a project that involved visiting
practices with less than 90% coverage and provided guidance and
support to increase coverage.
The intervention was evaluated using quantitative and qualitative
methods. The quantitative component analysed practice coverage
rate data from the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register. The
qualitative component included semistructured interviews with
general practitioners and practice staff.
Quantitative analysis showed that rates for a number of practices
with initial coverage between 80–90% increased to more than 90%
during the intervention. The qualitative component highlighted patient
and practice related issues around coverage and reporting.
Many practice related coverage and reporting issues were identified;
the majority are modifiable and thus practices can be targeted to
improve coverage. However, some patient related issues are complex
and not easily addressed.
Childhood immunisation programs currently save 3 million lives per year throughout the world and are one of the most cost effective public health interventions.1,2 Before implementation of the Immunise Australia Program and the General Practice Immunisation Incentives (GPII) scheme, rates of immunisation in Australia were considered to be too low to prevent transmission of some vaccine preventable diseases.3,4 Since commencement of these initiatives, average practice immunisation coverage rates have increased to more than 90%.5
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