Proposals to widen funding access to important vaccines

Media release Medicines

PHARMAC is asking the public for feedback on proposals to widen funding access to the varicella (chickenpox) and human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, as well as other changes to funded vaccines.

The proposals are for the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine to be funded for all children, and for the restriction on funding for the HPV vaccine for females to be removed, which would mean it is funded for males under 26 as well, says PHARMAC Director of Operations Sarah Fitt.

The proposed changes to vaccines has resulted from a successful request for proposals (RFP) process and follows recent consultations looking to fund a range of proposals including treatments for hepatitis C and advanced melanoma.

“Access to vaccines is an important issue for New Zealanders, and we’ve received a lot of feedback about widening access to the varicella and HPV vaccines, including from our expert clinical advisers” says Ms Fitt.

“PHARMAC has worked constructively with suppliers to negotiate significant savings which provide opportunities for these important vaccines to be made available to more people.”

In addition to widening access to the chickenpox and HPV vaccines, a number of other changes to the national immunisation schedule are being proposed.

“The science behind vaccines is constantly evolving. We work with our expert clinical advisers to make sure the vaccines we fund are effective and are targeting the areas of health important to New Zealand,” says Ms Fitt.

“PHARMAC is all about helping people live longer and better lives. The recently announced increase in the medicines budget has enabled PHARMAC to continue to invest in new medicines and widen access to others.

“We’re very pleased to open consultation on proposals that would see an extra 100,000 people immunised against potentially serious illnesses.”

Consultation is open today on:

  • Including vaccination of boys in the HPV school vaccination program in the 2017 school year and widening access to HPV vaccination for females and males to the age of 26 years.
  • Universal vaccination against chickenpox for all infants as a part of the childhood immunisation schedule, from 1 July 2017
  • A number of other changes to the currently listed vaccines including brand changes and a move to a 2-dose schedule for vaccination against rotavirus.

PHARMAC is seeking feedback on the proposals by 5pm 20 June 2016.

The consultation documents are available on the PHARMAC website.