Over 100,000 people set to benefit from PHARMAC vaccines decisions Thursday, 28 July 2016

Source: PHARMAC, 28 July 2016

PHARMAC has today announced changes to funded vaccines, which will benefit an extra 100,000 people, says PHARMAC Director of Operations Sarah Fitt.

The changes include:

  • From 1 January 2017:
    • The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available for all children and adults up to the age of 26 years, and boys will now be included in the HPV school vaccination programme. The HPV vaccine itself will also change to cover more strains of the virus, in fewer doses. 
  • From 1 July 2017:
    • The varicella (chickenpox) vaccine will be funded for all children as a part of the childhood immunisation schedule
    • The pneumococcal vaccine will change from a 13 strain to a 10 strain version 
    • The rotavirus vaccine will change brand and move to a two-dose regimen
    • The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) and haemophilus influenza type b (Hib) vaccines will move to new brands.

"Preventing illnesses through vaccinations is important to the health of all New Zealanders, as they don't just help the people receiving them, but also their family and whanau, and wider society," says Ms Fitt.

"It's important that PHARMAC responds to the changing nature of preventable illness and the evolution in the science of vaccinations. We work closely with our expert clinical advisers as well as our health sector partners to make sure we target the right areas of need.

"The changes have been made possible following constructive negotiations with suppliers that have created significant savings, and have allowed wider access to vaccines while reducing the overall cost to New Zealand."

The changes include a change from a 13 strain to a 10 strain version of the pneumococcal vaccine.

"PHARMAC received a lot of feedback from our health sector partners regarding the changes to the pneumococcal vaccine," says Ms Fitt.

"Our expert clinical advisers support the move to Synflorix, a 10 strain version of the pneumococcal vaccine and have said that it's suitable for New Zealand. Other versions of the vaccine, including the 13 strain and 23 strain will remain fully funded for high risk patients.

"Through a focus on the best overall package of vaccines to fund, this change has also helped provide flexibility to widen access to the HPV and varicella vaccines, which will provide significant health benefits to New Zealand.

In addition to the further summary information below, more information can be found in the notification document, available on the PHARMAC website