Immunisations

Immunisations

Immunisation is the process of administering vaccines to stimulate the body's immune system to produce an immune response against specific diseases. Vaccines contain small, harmless fragments of the disease-causing microorganism, or a weakened or inactivated form of the microorganism, which helps the body recognise and fight the disease if exposed to it in the future. Immunisations are safe and effective means of prevention the spread of infectious diseases and protect individuals from serious illness, complications, and even death.

Immunisation Schedule

The National Immunisation Program (NIP) provides evidence-based recommendations for immunisation schedules in Australia. The NIP is designed to provide free vaccines to eligible individuals provide protection against vaccine-preventable diseases. The suggested immunisation schedule may vary among individuals depending on age, health condition, and risk factors, but generally includes the following:

  1. Childhood Immunisation Schedule: The childhood immunisation schedule includes vaccines for infants and children to protect against diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, hepatitis B, and Haemophilus influenzae type b. Vaccines are usually administered at specific ages or milestones, including at birth, 2, 4, 6, 12, and 18 months, and 4 years.
  2. Adolescent Immunisation Schedule: The adolescent immunisation schedule includes vaccines to protect adolescents from diseases such as human papillomavirus (HPV), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), and meningococcal disease. Vaccines are usually administered at given ages, such as 12-13 years and 14-16 years.
  3. Adult Immunisation Schedule: The adult immunisation schedule includes vaccines to protect adults against diseases such as influenza (flu), pneumococcal disease, shingles (herpes zoster), and hepatitis B. Vaccines may be recommended based on factors such as age, occupation, health conditions, and lifestyle.
  4. Special Populations: The immunisation schedule also includes recommendations for specific populations, such as pregnant women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, individuals with certain medical conditions or risk factors, and travellers. These recommendations aim to protect vulnerable populations from vaccine-preventable diseases.

Benefits of Receiving Immunisations

Being up-to-date with your vaccinations offers numerous benefits, including:

  1. Disease Prevention: Vaccines are highly effective in preventing the spread of infectious diseases, reducing the risk of serious illness, complications, and hospitalisation.
  2. Herd Immunity: Vaccination helps create herd immunity, which occurs when a large percentage of the population is immune to a disease. This helps to reduce the spread of disease, protect the vulnerable, and eventually reach control of epidemics.

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