The Program for Refugee Immunisation, Monitoring and Education (PRIME)
PRIME is a Victorian Government initiative to support catch-up immunisation in refugee and asylum seeker communities, with funding of $2.72 million over 2016-2019, and funding extensions for 2019-2020 and for the full calendar year of 2021. PRIME has oversight from the Immunisation Section of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and an Evaluation Reference Group (ERG). The Victorian Refugee Health Network provides project support and convenes an Immunisation Evaluation Reference Group. PRIME has also included the development of the PAIVnG software platform by VCS Foundation, supporting delivery and monitoring of catch-up vaccinations and providing real-time analytics and reporting.
In 2014, a needs analysis of catch-up vaccination in refugee and asylum seeker communities in Victoria was conducted. This project examined catch-up immunisation for people from refugee backgrounds in Victoria, and explored effective models of service delivery to complete catch-up vaccinations. The needs analysis was based on a premise of equity – that refugee-background Victorians should be immunised equivalent to an Australian-born person of the same age. The project was completed through the VRHN, with funding provided by the Victorian Government Department of Health (formerly Department of Health and Human Services). Read the final needs analysis report.
In late 2015, the VRHN established an interdisciplinary, cross-sector Immunisation Working Group to progress some of the recommendations from the 2014 needs analysis report. The Working Group was chaired by Dr Georgie Paxton, Head of Immigrant Health and Consultant Paediatrician at the Royal Children’s Hospital. See the Immunisation Working Group Membership and Terms of Reference.
The Working Group contributed to the development of the following resources:
- Policy Briefings on No Jab, No Pay – implications for service providers and refugee background communities (March 2016) and ACIR – Issues Arising (June 2016)
- Information sheets on catch-up immunisation for case workers and immunisation providers and a multilingual brochure for clients (available in Amharic, Arabic, Assyrian, Burmese, Chin, Dari, Farsi, Karen and Tamil) – these resources are available on the Immunisation page in the Learn section of the Network website
- A summary update detailing progress on the recommendations from the 2014 needs analysis, including recommendations either partially or fully achieved, and those that are still outstanding: Update – catch-up immunisation in refugee background and asylum seeker communities in Victoria (September 2016)
PRIME Project Sites:
is delivered in partnership between Hume City Council and the City of Whittlesea that supports the triage, tracking and referral of newly arrived Syrian and Iraqi refugees into existing immunisation services, the implementation of follow-up procedures with the aim of ensuring catch-up immunisation schedules are complete, and the collection and analysis of data to determine immunisation coverage rates for this population.
City of Greater Dandenong
- The Noble Park English Language School (NPELS) Program provides ongoing support for the continued provision of catch-up immunisation for students from refugee backgrounds at NPELS
- The Expanded Model program supports the triage, tracking and referral of newly arrived humanitarian entrants into immunisation services. The project is modeled on the Hume/Whittlesea project (see above).
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Footscray
Provides catch-up immunisation as part of the Centre’s health program, targeting Medicare-ineligible asylum seekers.
Cabrini Asylum Seeker and Refugee Health Hub in Brunswick
Provides catch-up immunisation as part of the Hub’s health program, targeting Medicare-ineligible asylum seekers.