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Financial incentives for childhood immunisation — a unique but changing Australian initiative

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Will another shift in Australia’s unique system of immunisation incentives continue to encourage high levels of childhood vaccination?

The Immunise Australia: Seven Point Plan1 (Box 1) was launched in 1997 to increase childhood immunisation coverage from its then level of 53%.2 A range of financial incentives for general practice and parents was one component, unique among high-income countries when it commenced in 1998.3 Incentives targeted at general practice remained largely unchanged for over a decade, but those targeted at parents have been modified several times. The 2012 Federal Budget heralded significant reforms to financial incentives for immunisation, and there has been discussion about their possible impact. Here we document the history and consider the potential impact of changes to financial incentives for immunisation targeting providers and parents in Australia.

General practice immunisation incentives

The original General Practice Immunisation Incentive scheme offered two financial incentives for general practices that registered for it: the Service Incentive Payment and the Outcomes Bonus…