World Immunisation Week: Vaccines work

This week (24-30 April 2019) is World Immunisation Week and the theme is ‘Protected Together: Vaccines Work!’

Vaccines are now available to prevent cervical cancer, hepatitis B liver cancer, diphtheria, meningococcal, measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, shingles, pneumococcal disease, influenza, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis A and poliomyelitis, and Haemophilus influenzae type B. At all ages, vaccines save lives.

“Immunisation is one of medicine’s most powerful weapons against infectious disease, preventing an estimated two to three million deaths worldwide every year,” said Dr Rosalind Webby, Head of Immunisation at the Centre for Disease Control.

World Immunisation Week is an opportunity to remind and encourage as many Territorians as possible to get protected from vaccine preventable diseases. High immunisation coverage protects our community and ensures that serious vaccine preventable diseases are minimised.

At this time of year, Territorians should be considering getting protected against influenza, there is already influenza circulating in Central Australia.

All NT children aged between six months and five years are eligible in 2019 for a free influenza vaccination to help protect them from getting sick in 2019.

“The NT Government will provide for free influenza vaccinations to all children under five years as they are at an increased risk of flu-related complications including middle ear infection, pneumonia and seizures. Last year, 62 children aged less than five years were hospitalised with influenza, so it can be a serious disease,” Dr Webby said.

“A yearly flu vaccine is the best way to reduce the risk of your child getting sick with the flu and spreading it to others. The flu vaccine normally takes up to two weeks to provide full protection.

“Offering this free vaccine for children between six months and five years will ensure more people are protected from the flu this year.”

Free influenza vaccine is also available for pregnant women, Aboriginal people aged six months and over, all people aged 65 years and over and all people aged 6 months and over with chronic medical conditions.

The influenza vaccine and all other vaccines are available from GPs, Community Health Clinics, Aboriginal Community Controlled Clinics and some pharmacies.

Source: NT Government