A child receives vitamins during a vaccination campaign against polio.
Despite the success of mass immunisation campaigns in Africa, the continent still lags behind in meeting global vaccination targets.
The only thing standing between invaders such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi and our devastation is our immune system.
The immune system does such a good job most of the time that we only really think about it when things go wrong. But to provide such excellent protection, it must constantly learn.
The oral vaccine is the most common polio vaccine used in the world.
Recent polio outbreaks in Ukraine and Mali, caused by a vaccine-derived form of poliovirus, don't mean the vaccine isn't working. On the contrary, they are a reminder to keep up vaccination rates.
Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only two countries that still have endemic levels of polio.
Eradicating the last 1% of polio cases in the world requires an endgame plan centred on immunisation and surveillance.
The Nigerian commissioner for health of Bauchi state, Sani Malam, administers a polio vaccine to a child during an immunisation drive.
The positive impact of the polio eradication initiatives on the continent can be felt across the health sector in other health programmes.
A health worker vaccinates children with drops of polio vaccine in a classroom in Lagos, Nigeria.
Nigeria's strategy to eliminate polio was so effective that it was duplicated to deal with ebola. So why did the country take so long to get off the list of polio-endemic countries?
Senegalese Mamou Tiang, who suffers from polio, begs for money outside a bank on a sidewalk in the capital Dakar.
It's been one year since the last polio case was reported in Africa. If the continent keeps this up, it could be declared polio free by 2018.
Measles immunization campaign poster display at the Eradicate Measles Exhibit in 1972.
CDC/ Don Lovell via Public Health Image Library
When the measles vaccine was introduced, it was associated with reductions in more childhood disease deaths than were actually caused by the measles. How does that work?
Given the increasing number of vaccines recommended for adolescents and adults in Australia, the newly announced initiatives are a very good idea.
Tucked away in the budget papers is an intitiative worthy of applause – the establishment of an adult immunisation register and the expansion of the childhood register to include adolescents.
From January, conscientious objectors to vaccine will lose up to $15,000 of childcare and family tax rebates.
Australia is unique in using parental financial incentives for immunisation.
The emotional appeals of the opposing views on vaccination are both driven by concern for children.
World Bank Photo Collection/Flickr
The plan to withhold payments of child-care and family tax benefits for unvaccinated children could cost non-compliant parents up to A$15,000 a year. But is it ethical to punish parents?
Immunisation like this in East Africa have stalled in Ebola-hit countries in West Africa.
Immunisation programmes have taken a back seat because of Ebola and it leaves countries vulnerable to other outbreaks.
Removing the childcare rebate for parents who do not fully immunise their children is unnecessarily punitive and could have repercussions.
Immunisation in Australia isn't compulsory – and doesn't need to be controversial. Most Australians recognise the incredible benefits that vaccination provides to prevent serious disease.
A child is vaccinated against polio during a three-day nationwide campaign to eradicate polio, in Karachi, Pakistan, May 2014.
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A little bit of pain is a worthwhile price for child health and community well-being.
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