Articles on Vaccination

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The Church of Conscious Living, which offers ‘believers’ with a religious exemption from vaccination is engaging in astroturfing. Stefani/Flickr

Divine astroturf: should anti-vaccinationists get their own church?

The akedah narrative – the story of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac at God’s command – is one that has long inspired and haunted Jews, Christians and Muslims. In being prepared to kill…
Hand, foot and mouth disease commonly affects young children, causing blisters and fever. Occasionally, it can lead to dangerous infection of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord. http://www.flickr.com/photos/sesen

World first hand, foot and mouth vaccine developed

Chinese researchers have developed the world’s first ever vaccine against a strain of enterovirus that can cause hand, foot…

A view on: vaccination myths

In recent years there’s been growing debate around the safety of vaccinations – but how much of this is based on untruths? In the latest collaboration between SBS and The Conversation, Dr Rachael Dunlop…
The rate of young children contracting pneumococcal disease has plunged since the introduction of universal vaccination against the disease in 2005. http://www.flickr.com/photos/sanofi-pasteur

Pneumococcal rates plunge after widespread vaccination of infants

The number of young children contracting the most common strains of potentially fatal pneumococcal disease has plummeted…
A still picture from Jabbed, showing Osman Chandab being treated for whooping cough, which he contracted when he was seven weeks old. Genepool Productions

Science and fear: a review of vaccination documentary Jabbed

In April 1939, measles was coursing through the industrial suburbs of North Melbourne, Carlton and Fitzroy, but the city medical officer assured the public it was not severe. He noted there had been just…
The ‘no jab, no play’ rule seeks to reduce the risk of a vaccine-preventable disease outbreak but it may actually increase the risk. Image from shutterstock.com

With vaccination rates stable, ‘no jab, no play’ rules are beside the point

A recent News Limited campaign to enable childcare centres in NSW to refuse entry to unvaccinated children is gaining momentum, with the legislation expected to be introduced to NSW parliament this week…
Influenza symptoms include high fevers and chills, as well as pains and aches in muscles and joints. Davide Taviani

Explainer: what is the flu?

When people say they have “the flu”, what they’re experiencing most of the time is the common cold, which is not caused by the influenza virus at all. But the term “flu season”, which Australia is in the…
Vaccines are one of the most effective public health measures ever introduced. Image from shutterstock.com

Six myths about vaccination – and why they’re wrong

Recently released government figures show levels of childhood vaccination have fallen to dangerously low levels in some areas of Australia, resulting in some corners of the media claiming re-ignition of…
Parents who choose not to vaccinate their children put the whole community at risk. Dave Haygarth

Measles: new efforts needed to stop an old disease

New diseases grab headlines. The latest influenza scare – H7N9 – has prompted much speculation about the direction the virus might take. And rightly so, as vaccines to fight new viruses can take some time…
CSL TIV is no longer recommended for children less than five years of age in Australia. Image from shutterstock.com

Better regulation needed for kids’ flu vaccine

Flu vaccines given to children should be more rigorously tested before before being allowed onto the market, researchers…
Vaccination has a lot more uses than you may know. Stephen Mitchell

Explainer: how are vaccines used in Australian agriculture?

Approximately 140 vaccines are registered for use in livestock and companion animals in Australia. Many more animals are vaccinated each year than humans. Vaccines are used in farm animals: to protect…
The Nigerian commissioner for health of Bauchi state, Dr Sani Malam (L), administers a polio vaccine to a Nigerian child during the launch of the national immunization drive in Nigeria on February 5, 2013. EPA/DEJI YAKE

Killing polio workers threatens grave global consequences

The murder of nine female health workers involved in child immunisation on February 8 in Kano (the largest city in northern Nigeria) is a chilling reminder that saving children’s lives is not a goal shared…
Researchers hope DNA vaccines may one day be used to fight dengue fever, HIV and malaria. Sanofi Pasteur, http://www.flickr.com/photos/sanofi-pasteur

New painless patch may make DNA vaccines feasible

Researchers have created a pain-free DNA vaccine skin patch that tests on monkeys show is over 100 times more effective than…
Obesity, over-diagnosis, the NDIS, vaccinations and open access for genetic information were just some of the issues covered in 2012. Kylie May; shutterstock.com; Morberg; Pranjal Mahn

2012, the year that was: Health + Medicine

It promised to be a full year of reforms: pokies legislation, front-of-pack food labels and a dental system that doesn’t cost those in need an arm and a leg. But while we did see cigarette companies forced…
Parents need the facts about childhood vaccination. Nonanet.

Anti-vaccination network told to change its name or be shut down

The heated battle between Australia’s anti-vaccine lobby, the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN), and those fighting against its misinformation took a positive turn late last week, with the New South…
An Afghan health worker gives polio vaccine drops to a child in Nangarhar, Afghanistan, 19 November 2012. EPA/Abdul Mueed

Violence against health workers damages public health efforts

The Guardian recently reported the death of a female volunteer in a polio vaccination program in Kapisa province, Afghanistan, who was shot six times and later died in hospital. The shooting has rightly…
The dose makes the poison so fear is stoked by a lack of basic understanding of chemistry and toxicology. Ellen Fitzsimons

‘Toxins’ in vaccines: a potentially deadly misunderstanding

Vaccination is one of the most important preventative measures against serious illness, but its very success may be working against it. With parents no longer having the experience of the devastating diseases…
Late 19th century lithograph by French artist Gaston Mélingue showing Edward Jenner vaccinating a boy on May 14, 1796. Wikimedia Commons

Preaching to the unconverted: immunisation risks and public health

The principle of prevention being better than the cure is at the heart of public health and social marketing efforts such as immunisation. But not everyone agrees and the challenge is how to address disagreement…
Too much urging can backfire and entrench some parents’ opposition to vaccination. Flickr/skippytpe

Parents’ decisions about vaccination and the art of gentle persuasion

Dr Seuss’ book Green Eggs and Ham is built around the urgings of a weird creature, Sam I Am, who insists the narrator eat the food of its title. When the narrator refuses, Sam issues an ever-widening range…

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