Of the 4.1 million unvaccinated people in Australia who make up the majority?
Children? Adolescents? No.
As published by researchers at UNSW recently, 92 per cent (3.8 million) adults are unvaccinated and they are putting us all at risk.
The Government provides free adult vaccines for influenza, pneumococcal pneumonia and shingles for people over the age of 65years (or 70 for shingles) and for those with underlying medical conditions as well as pregnant women. However research from MacIntyre, Seale and Menzies from UNSW shows that only 51 per cent of older Australian adults received all government-funded vaccinations each year. This compares to 93 per cent of Australian children and 73 per cent of Australian adolescents.
Coverage in eligible high-risk groups is even lower at around 40 per cent with medical or occupational risks receiving their annual influenza vaccine.
Unfortunately adults contribute to epidemics and the spread of vaccine-preventable disease. Most cases of whooping cough for example occur in adults. About half the cases of measles that occur in Australia are in those aged 19 years and over.
At Seven Hills Family Doctors we recognise that poor uptake adult vaccination can be due to many factors but would like to offer a chance to break down these barriers. We maintain accessibility with appointments available to discuss the issues, many of the missed adult vaccinations are fully government funded and we have a clinical nurse and systems to ensure you receive regular boosters.
There are factors to overcome – while there may be low perceived-risk for infection, adult infections of vaccine-preventable diseases threaten the entire community. There is value in the vaccines which have been formulated to protect us, and whole of life immunisation can offer better quality of life as well as protecting those around us.
It’s time to act. If you can’t recall the last time you had a vaccination booster or if you have a chronic medical condition, are pregnant or over 65 years of age, please consider your future health and those who surround you. Contact Seven Hills Family Doctors and we can help.
Blog by Dr Michael Clem