Immunisation

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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.
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?
Removing the childcare rebate for parents who do not fully immunise their children is unnecessarily punitive and could have repercussions. Oksana Shufrych/Shutterstock

Forget ‘no jab, no pay’ schemes, there are better ways to boost vaccination

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. EPA/SHAHZAIB AKBER

CIA stops fake vaccination programs, but will it matter?

The US government has told a group of local health educators that it will no longer use immunisation programs as a cover for espionage. But the damage from previous such programs is difficult to undo…
Many adults missed out on vaccines that are routinely given to children today. Shutterstock

Health Check: when do adults need to be immunised?

Most of us will receive the majority of our vaccinations in childhood. But Australian adults still die and become disabled from vaccine-preventable diseases. Immunisations are therefore an important preventive…
A little bit of pain is a worthwhile price for child health and community well-being. Sarah Gilbert

Vaccinations are a vital part of ethical ‘alternative’ lifestyles

Often cited as one of the most important medical breakthroughs in human history, immunisation has been a hallmark of public health interventions for more than 200 years. Globally, an estimated 2.5 million…
Malaria prevention is going beyond the mosquito net. Gates Foundation

New malaria vaccine has its flaws, but it’s better than nothing

The announcement that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) aims to register a malaria vaccine came on the same day Peter Higgs and Francois Englert were awarded the Nobel prize in physics for predicting the existence…
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…
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…
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…
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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