World Immunisation Week, 24-30 April 2017

World Immunisation Week aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. Immunisation saves millions of lives and is widely recognised as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions. Today, there are still 19.4 million unvaccinated and under-vaccinated children in the world.

Since the introduction of vaccination for children in Australia in 1932, deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases have fallen by 99 per cent, despite a threefold increase in the Australian population over that period.

Immunisation is critical for the health of children and the wider community. For immunisation to provide the greatest benefit, a sufficient number of people need to be vaccinated to halt the spread of bacteria and viruses. The proportion of the population that has to be immune to interrupt disease transmission differs for each vaccine preventable disease, but is around 90 per cent for most diseases. For a highly infectious disease like measles, this is up to 95 per cent of the population.

In Australia, immunisation coverage rates for children are high, with over 90 per cent of children fully immunised at one, two and five years of age. This high rate of immunisation helps to maintain community immunity, especially for those who are too young to be immunised or those that are not able to be immunised for medical reasons. Without herd immunity, rare diseases will become common again, causing more illness and deaths.

It is important to know your vaccination history, vaccinate your children on time and visit your Immunisation Provider before traveling overseas to check whether you may need additional vaccination.

Further information

(Source: World Health Organisation, Immunise Australia)