Immunisation Grants for Local Communities to Boost Immunisation

By Petrina Smith
Wednesday, 18 June, 2014

GSK’s 2014 Immunisation Grants for local communities have been launched at the Public Health Association of Australia’s 14th annual immunisation conference to help improve access, coverage and timely delivery of vaccination services.

Four grants of $20,000 each are available with applications closing Friday, 15 August.
“Doctors and nurses working in communities have great insight, especially when they work together. They draw on their clinical experience to uncover gaps in service delivery and patient contact especially in remote areas or with refugee communities,” said Dr Neil Hearnden, a GP vaccination specialist from Arana Hills Medical Centre who is chairing the grants judging panel this year.
“The grants help providers make a positive impact on immunisation in their local community,” he said.
The benefits of previous grants have been felt across the nation. Last year Tasmania Medicare Local put their grant towards providing free flu vaccination clinics for people accessing crisis support services.
And in Queensland the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service (ATSICHS) used the support to raise awareness of the need for pertussis (whooping cough) vaccination for people planning a pregnancy or already expecting.
“While Australia has a comprehensive childhood immunisation program and targeted adult schemes, there are still people needing assistance. Communities and at-risk populations who have greater contact with education programs, intervention or better access to innovative programs are more likely to have better health outcomes,” said Dr Mark Amies, GSK Vaccines Medical Director.
The GSK Immunisation Grants (previously Awards) is one of Australia’s longest standing programs encouraging innovation and sharing best practice for immunisation providers.
Dr Hearnden said the grants support the valuable work of groups including community health teams, Medicare Locals, General Practice Networks and individuals such as practice nurses, maternal and child health nurses.
Previously GSK offered the grants for specific child or adult programs on alternate years. The aim of merging the two grants is to help community health professionals working in immunisation apply for a grant closer to the initiation of their project.
Dr Amies said he is hoping the new format will attract a wide range of applications that cover ever-changing community health needs.
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