There are two reasons for immunising in Australia:
1. Immunisation is the safest and most effective way of giving protection against the disease. After immunisation, your child is far less likely to catch the disease if there are cases in the community. The benefit of protection against the disease far outweighs the very small risks of immunisation.
Young children, particularly babies, do not have the well-developed immune system that older children and adults have. A number of immunisations are required in the first few years of a child’s life to protect the child against the most serious childhood infectious diseases.
Even though adolescents may have been vaccinated as a child, immunity to certain diseases can decrease over time. Also new vaccines have been developed which are now recommended that were not previously available.
Immunisation is also recommended for adults and may relate to your age, your Indigenous status, your occupation, if you have had injury or illness, your vaccination history, plans to travel, if you are planning to start a family or just part of staying healthy.
Parents, grandparents and carers in particular, who come into contact with young children are commonly carriers of some childhood infections and should be vaccinated against these diseases.
2. If enough people in the community are immunised, the infection can no longer be spread from person to person and the disease dies out altogether. This is how smallpox was eliminated from the world and polio has disappeared from many countries.
Why Immuniations are free?
The National Immunisation Program (NIP) Schedule lists the diseases for which immunisation is available and the ages at which doses should be given for those currently funded by the government.
Children under 7 years of age are eligible under the National Immunisation Program to receive free vaccinations against Chickenpox, Diphtheria, Haemophilus Influenza Type B (Hib), Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Measles, Meningococcal C, Mumps, Pneumococcal, Polio, Rotavirus, Rubella, Tetanus and Whooping Cough.
Currently, adolescents are eligible under the National Immunisation Program to receive free vaccinations against Chickenpox, Diphtheria, Hepatitis B, Tetanus and Whooping Cough. There is also a free vaccine for females against Human Papillomavirus (HPV), the virus which can cause cervical cancer. The School Based Vaccination Program provides parents with the opportunity to have their child vaccinated at no cost through their school.
Under the National Immunisation Program vaccination is free against Diphtheria, Tetanus and Whooping Cough for new parents; Influenza for people 65 years and over, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and pregnant women. Vaccination is also free against Pneumococcal for people aged 65 years and over, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
Where can I go for immunisation?
Vaccination is available at bulk billing services throughout the Livingstone Shire at no cost to the patient in certain circumstances. Contact your local GP or medical centre for more information.
For more information on immunisation visit the Queensland Health website or call 13 HEALTH (43 25 84).