With increased cases of vaccine-preventable diseases being reported across the country and internationally, the nursing profession is reminding Australians to get immunised and protected for World Immunisation Week (24-30 April).
“The World Health Organisation named vaccine hesitancy as one of the top ten global threats to health for 2019,” Australian College of Nursing CEO, Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN said.
“Immunisation is a key factor in preventing the spread of disease. Australia experienced one of its worst ever flu seasons in 2017 and predictions are that the 2019 flu season could be particularly bad.
“In the past year we have seen a number of measles alerts issued. Australia is currently experiencing its highest number of measles cases in five years. As at, 5 April, there had been 83 measles cases – more than for the entire 12 months of 2017.
“Those most impacted by the spread of preventable diseases are usually the most vulnerable – babies, young children, older Australians and people with chronic conditions.
“Australia has one of the best health care systems in the world, but one of our challenges continues to be access and equity across this vast land. Nurses are key in population health planning and managing preventable diseases.
“Immunisation is vital throughout the lifespan, and it is important to maintain one’s immunisations to ensure herd immunity within communities. Nurses and health practitioners have a significant role in ensuring all people making immunisation decisions have access to authoritative, evidence-based information.
“ACN has recently become a Member of the World Coalition on Adult Vaccination through membership of the International Federation of Aging where we intend to influence globally as well as locally.
“ACN will continue to advocate for State and Territory legislation which supports communities by providing direct access to nurse immunisers in primary and community care.”