New vaccines measures to boost immunity

The Government’s announcement of several key initiatives to promote vaccination is a major step forward in improving the health of Australians, Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw said today.

Children will be vaccinated earlier, and the Government will add an additional vaccine to the schedule that combines measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox vaccines in a single dose. Also, the definition of “fully immunised” has been expanded to include meningococcal C, pneumococcal and chicken pox vaccination.

Dr Shaw said increasing vaccination rates is in the interests of the broader community as well as individual children.

“Immunisation not only protects the individual, but also protects families and the wider community from the spread of infection,” Dr Shaw said.

“It is one of the most effective ways of preventing disease, and the Government’s announcement today is a very positive move.

“Vaccines developed and manufactured by the medicines industry have been one of the key reasons the death rates from infectious diseases have plummeted in Australia since the 1920s.

“The investment by medicines companies in vaccines has helped save lives over generations.

“Australians have overwhelmingly recognised the importance of vaccination in improving health outcomes. A recent Newspoll survey found that 94 per cent of people agree that immunisation is an effective way of preventing the spread of disease.

“Every day, immunisation saves lives and makes it possible for many Australians to live free from the illnesses and disability caused by many infectious diseases.

“But there is no room for complacency. If immunisation rates were to fall death rates from these diseases may start to rise again.

“So I congratulate the Government. The measures announced today protect against complacency. They are important initiatives to encourage parents to be up-to-date with vaccines for their families.”


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