Immunisation is effective and can prevent deaths and reduce disease in our communities

Mother and child wearing face masks while washing their hands with sanitiser

There are many health determinants that can protect your good health or pose a risk to it. One of the most effective behaviours against disease is immunisation. Immunisation is the process of becoming immune to a disease as a result of a vaccine. Vaccination is when you receive a vaccine either by a needle or drops in the mouth.

The World Health Organization considers immunisation to be the most effective medical intervention we have available to prevent deaths and reduce disease in our communities. It provides protection from a specific infectious disease and its immediate complications. It can also provide protection against long-term complications from infections such as human papilloma virus which can lead to cancers, and infection from the chickenpox virus, which can result in shingles later in life. When people get immunised, they not only protect themselves but their community. When there are enough people who are immunised (around 95 per cent) it is called herd immunity.

PHNs play a role in helping local child immunsation rates to reach national targets and assisting with the coordination of information and resources for primary healthcare providers and vulnerable communities, including for COVID-19, influenza (flu), Japanese Encephalitis Virus and Mpox.

National Immunisation Program

The National Immunisation Program (NIP) provides routine vaccinations free to eligible people. The NIP schedule lists what immunisations should be given at specific times throughout a person’s life from birth through to adulthood, to protect against: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), rotavirus, meningococcal ACWY, human papillomavirus (HPV), hepatitis A and B, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, influenza and shingles.

Vaccination is available through general practice clinics, pharmacies, councils, schools and health centres. To learn more about vaccinations, including how to find out what vaccines you or your child needs, visit the Australian Government’s immunisation webpage.

The National Immunisation Information Line provides general advice and information about immunisation and is available by calling 1800 671 811 Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5pm. For medical or clinical advice, speak to your GP.

Last Update: May 16th, 2024