Support for immunisation results in record training enrolments

A record number of health practitioners have enrolled in the Australian College of Nursing’s newly-updated immunisation course, demonstrating the profession’s commitment to protecting more Australians from vaccine-preventable diseases.

“Immunisation is a key factor in protecting Australians and preventing the spread of disease,” Australian College of Nursing (ACN) Chief Executive Officer, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward said.

“Nurses and health practitioners have a significant role in ensuring all people making immunisation decisions have access to authoritative, evidence-based information. Australia experienced one of its worst ever flu seasons last winter, highlighting why it is so vitally important for the community to be aware of the benefits of immunisation and get vaccinated against preventable diseases,” said Adjunct Professor Ward.

The ‘Immunisation for Health Practitioners’ course delivered by the Australian College of Nursing keeps nurses and other health professionals up to date with the best current practice standards and recommendations as approved by the National Immunisation Education Framework for Health Professionals (2017). The launch of this course also sees the ACN align with the Commonwealth Federal Government’s Immunise Australia Program, which aims to increase national immunisation rates for preventable diseases.

“Due to their centrality in all aspects of health care in Australia, nurses play a significant role in providing better health services and outcomes to patients,” said Adjunct Professor Ward.

As children return to school for the 2018 year, the ACN reminds parents to ensure their children are up-to-date with immunisations. The Immunise Australia Program currently protects against 16 diseases including measles, whooping cough, diphtheria, Hepatitis B and Human Papillomavirus (HPV). School children across Australia are eligible for this program.

A new quad-strain of Meningococcal vaccine is now included in the program as announced by Health Minister Greg Hunt last week. The vaccine provides wider access for Australian children to be protected against A, C, W and Y strains of the disease ahead of the next peak season. The Government’s decision follows a rise in meningococcal cases, with 382 being reported nationally last year and covers the W strain, which is reported to be more severe than the others.