Falling Immunisation rates. (The Age article 12.2.14)

Quote“A swath of inner-city, affluent Melbourne suburbs are falling below safe vaccination rates for children, leaving doctors worried about an increased risk of potentially fatal diseases…”

Dr Sharon Woolf provides a brief reflection on the impact of vaccination on common diseases.

I have been a GP in Glen Iris for the last 33 years, and I have witnessed the enormous benefit of our community vaccination programs.

When I started practising in 1981, every few months we would see a young child with probable meningitis, a terrible crisis for a young family, with an uncertain outcome for the child. Since the commencement of the infant Haemophilus influenza vaccine in 1992, and the infant meningococcal vaccine in 2002, I cannot recall the last time we saw a child with bacterial meningitis.

Measles vaccine was introduced in 1969, Rubella in 1971, and mumps in 1981. These diseases are now rare, but seen occasionally, and pose a significant threat to the infected person, and to the unborn child. We are always aiming for an even better coverage to ensure these diseases eventually disappear, as we have achieved through the polio vaccination program.

We are currently aiming to achieve excellent full protection from influenza , and to protect the new born from whooping cough, by vaccinating new parents and grandparents. We are now able to protect mature people from the pain of shingles with a new vaccine called Zostavax .

Vaccinations against hepatitis A&B, typhoid, Yellow fever, rabies, cholera have made overseas travel much safer.

The childhood immunisation rate at Glen Iris Medical Group has run close to 100% for several years now, and our Doctors and Nurse Immuniser Peta are very happy to spend time with parents explaining both the benefits and risks of immunisation in a balanced way utilising the evidence available to us.

Perhaps the most currently available evidence is “The Science of Immunisation: Questions and Answers, which is produced by the Australian Academy of Science using the research of some of Australia’s leading scientists and immunologists. We recommend this document. http://www.science.org.au/policy/immunisation.html

For any vaccination requirements, our doctors and our specially trained nurse, Ms Peta Bond, work together to provide an up to date , efficient service.

Dr Sharon Woolf

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