Vaccines will help keep you healthy. The Immunisation Coalition recommends vaccinations throughout your life to protect against many infections. When you skip vaccines, you leave yourself vulnerable to illnesses such as shingles, pneumococcal disease, influenza, whooping cough and other diseases.
Vaccine-preventable diseases haven’t gone away.
For 2015 the Australian the national Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System reported that 60782 people got sick from vaccine-preventable diseases.1
Viruses and bacteria that cause illness and death still exist and can be passed on to those who are not protected by vaccines. In a time when people can travel across the globe in just one day, it’s obvious just how easily diseases can travel too.
Vaccines are as important to your overall health as diet and exercise.
Like eating healthy foods, exercising, and getting regular check-ups, vaccines play a vital role in keeping you healthy. Vaccines are one of the most effective and safest preventive care measures available.
Vaccination can mean the difference between life and death.
Vaccine-preventable infections are dangerous. Tens of thousands of deaths of Australian children were prevented during the 20th century, by immunization and the benefits have been supplemented by the introduction of newer vaccines. Rotavirus vaccine has reduced hospital admissions and deaths from infant diarrhea, hepatitis B and human papilloma virus vaccines have protected thousands of adults from liver and cervical cancer respectively, and many others have prevented infections in travellers or people who are at risk of exposure to exotic infections.2
Vaccines are safe.
Safety research and testing underpin every aspect of vaccine development and manufacture in Australia. Before vaccines are made available for use, they are rigorously tested in thousands of people in progressively larger clinical trials that are strictly monitored for safety. The results of these trials form the foundation for an ongoing process of testing and monitoring that lasts for the lifetime of each vaccine.
All vaccines registered in Australia by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) are evaluated to ensure they are effective, comply with strict manufacturing and production standards, and have a strong safety record. This includes stringent testing for each vaccine component, including preservatives, additives and vaccine adjuvants. It can take up to 10 years for a vaccine to be approved for use. Vaccines are among the safest products in all of medicine.
Vaccines won’t give you the disease they are designed to prevent.
You cannot “catch” the disease from the vaccine. Some vaccines contain “killed” virus, and it is impossible to get the disease from them. Others have live, but weakened, viruses designed to ensure that you can not catch the disease.
Young and healthy people can get very sick, too.
Infants and the elderly are at a greater risk of serious infections and complications in many cases, but vaccine-preventable diseases can strike anyone. If you’re young and healthy, getting vaccinated can help you stay that way.
When you get sick, your children, grandchildren and parents are at risk, too.
A vaccine-preventable disease that might make you sick for a week or two could prove deadly for your children, grandchildren, or parents if it spreads to them. When you get vaccinated, you’re protecting yourself and your family. For example, adults are the most common source of pertussis (whooping cough) infection in infants, which can be deadly for them.
- National Notifiable Diseases, Surveillance System
- Fact File, Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia, Immunisation and Vaccine Preventable Diseases, August 2012, page 3