With infections causing about 40% of all worldwide recorded deaths, and with ‘superbugs‘ limiting the efficacy of therapies, the World Health Organisation will use World Immunisation Week, starting on April 20, to remind us that “immunisation is one of the most successful and cost-effective health interventions and prevents between 2 and 3 million deaths every year”.

The Immunise Australia Program offers free immunisation for 16 of the 26 preventable diseases described in The Australian Immunisation Handbook.

As well as prevention from acute infection, vaccines can protect against the long term consequences of infection, such as cervical cancer from human papillomavirus; and the potential for new vaccines to protect against many more, such as stomach cancer from Helicobacter pylori.

Science of Immunisation: questions and answers offers information to help the public understand the risks and the benefits of immunisation; and provides balance to some urban myths.

April is a great month to consider not only the exposure of healthcare workers to infection, but also our responsibility to immunise to prevent transmission. Start by exploring your access to government or employer sponsored programs to prevent seasonal influenza.

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