Immunisation protects families and communities
Greater education and awareness about the contribution of innovative medicines and vaccines to preventative health is critical.
Medicines Australia Chief Executive Milton Catelin said: “Increasing vaccination rates is in the interests of the whole Australian community as well as individual children”.
It is one of the safest and most cost effective ways of preventing communicable diseases.
Vaccines are not included in the National Immunisation Program until they have been approved for use by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to make sure they meet strict safety guidelines and comply with manufacturing and production standards.
Immunisation not only protects the individual, but also protects families and local communities from the spread of infection.
“Vaccines are one of the key reasons the death rates from infectious diseases have plummeted since the 1920s. The investment by medicines manufacturers in vaccines has helped save lives over several generations,” Mr Catelin said.
Every day, immunisation makes it possible for around 3 million people to live free from the illnesses or disability caused by many preventable diseases.
But there is no room for complacency. One of the reasons for vaccine refusal is because of lack of knowledge and understanding, leading to people believing disproven material claiming that vaccines cause illness. If immunisation rates were to fall diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella and varicella may start to rise again which are a serious threat to children.
In 2014 the World Health Organization declared that measles has been eliminated in Australia. But it is important to maintain high levels of vaccination against measles, because it can still be imported by travellers from other countries.
Clear information about the safety and efficacy of immunisation helps get the right message to parents. We need to be ever vigilant about this to ensure immunisation rates remain high in the future.
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