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Millions of Australian adults are unvaccinated and itís increasing disease risk for all of us

C. Raina MacIntyre and colleagues write in The Conversation (27.3.17) that most immunisation campaigns continue to primarily focus on infants and children, but almost 4 million Australian adults are not vaccinated against preventable diseases.

'Public attention has recently focused on improving vaccination rates in Australian infants and children. But actually the largest unvaccinated group of people recommended for immunisation are adults.

'Of 4.1 million unvaccinated Australians, 92% (3.8 million) are adults, and only a small fraction are children.

'Improving adult vaccination rates will reduce their risk of illness and death, and lower transmission of infection in the community.

'… To improve immunisation in any occupational setting, it is important to commit resources, design health promotion programs, and provide culturally sensitive education on the risk of influenza and the overall benefits of vaccination.

'It is also important to remove barriers and use regulation. For example, hospitals have patient infection outcomes linked to accreditation, but not staff vaccination. There are no such requirements for child care or aged care facilities. We could consider linking vaccination rates of staff to regulation of these institutions. We also need to ensure there are no other barriers to getting staff vaccinated.'

 

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