Vaccination

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Protecting the herd means a certain proportion of the population has to be immunised. Flickr/Princessrica

Explainer: what is herd immunity?

When a high proportion of a community is immune it becomes hard for diseases to spread from person to person – a phenomenon known as herd immunity.
A women gets an HIV test. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for the majority of the HIV deaths annually. World Bank Collection/flickr

Two trials signal pivotal point in fight against the AIDS epidemic

Two major clinical trials will be conducted in South Africa in 2016 to test ways of preventing new HIV infections.
A child receives vitamins during a vaccination campaign against polio. Reuters/Thierry Gouegnon

Why Africa is lagging behind in child vaccination

Despite the success of mass immunisation campaigns in Africa, the continent still lags behind in meeting global vaccination targets.
‘Leaky vaccines’ don’t affect the ability of the virus to reproduce and spread to others; they simply prevent it from causing disease. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District/Flickr

Are vaccines making viruses more dangerous?

Media coverage of a recent study involving a "leaky" vaccine raised questions about the possibility that they could make viruses more dangerous.
The Nigerian commissioner for health of Bauchi state, Sani Malam, administers a polio vaccine to a child during an immunisation drive. EPA/Deji Yake

The legacy benefits from Africa’s fight against polio

The positive impact of the polio eradication initiatives on the continent can be felt across the health sector in other health programmes.
Senegalese Mamou Tiang, who suffers from polio, begs for money outside a bank on a sidewalk in the capital Dakar. Nic Bothma/EPA

Africa is within reach of being declared a polio free region

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.
Some of the equipment used during a Pap smear procedure. Pap smears are at the centre of the South African government’s cervical cancer prevention strategy, despite it yielding little success. shutterstock

Failure to set up affordable cervical cancer tests costs South Africa

South Africa's cervical cancer strategy has not yielded great results. Despite this, the country has still not opted for an alternative screening methods.
Given the increasing number of vaccines recommended for adolescents and adults in Australia, the newly announced initiatives are a very good idea. Wellcome Images/Flickr

New register shows importance of vaccination beyond childhood

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.
Exposing people to weak forms of anti-science arguments can help them respond when they are hit by the real thing. NIAID/Flickr

Inoculating against science denial

A small dose of a weak form of anti-science can inoculate people against the real thing, just like a vaccine.
The emotional appeals of the opposing views on vaccination are both driven by concern for children. World Bank Photo Collection/Flickr

‘No jab, no pay’ policy has a serious ethical sting

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?

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