Benefits of Immunisation
Immunisation is a simple and effective way of protecting children and adults against certain diseases. They are recommended for people at certain ages or life stages and for those who may be at increased risk. Immunisation works by triggering the immune system to fight against certain diseases. If a vaccinated person comes in contact with these diseases, their immune system is able to respond more effectively. This either prevents the disease from developing or reduces the severity.
Immunisation not only protects your own family, but also others by helping control serious diseases in our community.
Safety of immunisations
Immunisations are a very safe prevention tool.
All vaccines used in Australia undergo extensive research and must be approved for use by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), who monitors the safety of medicines in Australia. Before a vaccine can be licensed, it is rigorously tested in thousands of people in progressively larger clinical trials over several years to ensure it is safe and works.
Any concerns about vaccine safety should be raised with your doctor or immunisation provider. Serious reactions to immunisation are rare. While some people may experience mild side effects such as pain, swelling and redness at the injection site, these usually resolve quickly. If you experience any symptoms that concern you, contact 13 HEALTH or your doctor/immunisation provider.
All vaccine service providers are required to report any serious reactions following immunisation to Queensland Health. This information is then sent to the TGA which rigidly monitors and manages vaccine safety in Australia.
Vaccines on the National Immunisation Program Schedule are funded for all eligible children and adults in Queensland. The Australian Government is responsible for deciding which vaccines will be included on the National Immunisation Program.
Extra vaccines are provided for some groups such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients and patients with particular medical conditions that make them more susceptible to disease.
In Queensland, pregnant women are eligible for a free whooping cough vaccine, please speak with your GP about having this done.
Deciding to immunise
The risk of side effects from immunisation is far less than the risk of severe complications associated with a vaccine-preventable disease.
Many vaccine-preventable diseases are highly contagious and can be overwhelming to a person’s immune system. Most unvaccinated people who come into contact with an infected person will catch the disease. For example, where there is a case of whooping cough, up to 90 per cent of unimmunised household contacts will catch the disease.
This means it is not only important for babies to be vaccinated against whooping cough, but also for all family members to be up to date with their boosters. Vaccination records might be needed to enrol your child in childcare or school.
Unvaccinated children will be excluded from school if there is an outbreak of certain vaccine-preventable diseases.
Queensland children currently have a high vaccination rate with more than 90 per cent of five-year-old children entering primary school being fully immunised.