Tara Beecher M.Pharm (read time 1.5 mins)
Vaccination is a hot topic in 2021! All eyes are currently on the approval and roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine, which expected to start in Australia, early March.
However, did you know that there is an estimated 3.8 million adult Australians who are under-vaccinated for other vaccine-preventable diseases? Vaccination for adults is just as important as for children. Improving the rates of adult vaccination will reduce the risk of illness and death from vaccine-preventable diseases. Vaccination also has the added benefit of lowering the transmission of infection in the community which is something we should all get behind during a pandemic.
Did you know that some vaccinations given in childhood need regular boosters? Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis vaccination needs to be updated every 10 years or every 5 years if you work in health or with children. Even though we think of whooping cough as a childhood illness, adults are, in fact, a major contributor to the transmission of infection. This potentially puts younger infants at risk of infection and serious complications. Any adult household contacts and carers of infants less than 6 months of age should be given the whooping cough vaccination at least 2 weeks before becoming a close contact of the infant.
Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccination is another that Australian adults are under-vaccinated for. Measles is a highly contagious viral illness that can have serious complications, particularly in younger children. The vaccination for Measles, Mumps and Rubella is now given to children at 12 and 18 months under the National Immunisation Program. However, Australians born between 1966 and 1994 may not be fully vaccinated. Unfortunately, the second dose of the measles vaccine, which is required for full protection, was not routinely given until the early 90's. It is strongly recommended that people in this age group check their immunisation records or ask for a serology blood test to check their immunity.
Did you know that pharmacists can administer vaccinations other than influenza?
If you believe you need a booster or may be under-immunised, have a chat to your local Good Price Pharmacist.