- + : Immunisation
Immunisation and its health implications
Immunisation (or vaccination) induces an immune response that protects susceptible individuals from communicable diseases by the administration of a living modified agent (as in yellow fever), a suspension of killed organisms (as in whooping cough), or an inactivated toxin (as in tetanus). Temporary passive immunisation can be produced by administration of antibodies to a non-immune person who has recently been exposed to certain infections. The development of immunisation, first against smallpox and later for a growing number of other diseases including diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, and measles, led to massive declines in morbidity and mortality associated with these conditions.
The Commonwealth Department of Health manages immunisation in Australia via the Immunise Australia Program. The program aims to increase national immunisation rates by funding free vaccination programs, administering the Australian Childhood Immunisation Register, and communicating information about immunisation to the general public and health professionals (https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation).
The current National Immunisation Program Schedule covers diseases including: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), pneumococcal disease, rotavirus, measles, mumps, rubella, varicella (chicken pox) and meningococcal C.
The NSW Immunisation Schedule covers childhood vaccines (for those under 5 years of age), adolescent (school-based) vaccination and vaccination for at-risk groups (Aboriginal people, pregnant women and those over 65 years of age) (http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/immunisation/Publications/nsw-immunisation-schedule.pdf).
In adulthood it is important to ensure ongoing protection against vaccine preventable diseases. Immunisation against, or prior infection with, a particular disease does not guarantee lifelong protection from reinfection (http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/immunisation/Pages/adult_vaccination.aspx#MMR).
Australian Government. Department of Health. Australian Immunisation Handbook. Available at: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/the-australian-immunisation-handbook
Australian Government. Department of Health. Immunise Australia Program. Available at https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/immunisation
NSW Health. Immunisation Programs. Available at www.health.nsw.gov.au/immunisation/
Australian Government. Department of Human Services. Australian Childhood Immunisation Register Statistics. Available at http://www.humanservices.gov.au/corporate/statistical-information-and-data/australian-childhood-immunisation-register-statistics/