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The importance of immunisation

Flu season is now officially upon us here in Perth. So stay on top of your health this winter by keeping up-to-date with your vaccinations. Read on to find out the importance of immunisation and how you can protect yourself from vaccine-preventable diseases like the winter influenza (commonly referred to as the flu) thanks to primary health care providers like St John Medical.

Why is immunisation important?

Immunisation is a simple, safe and effective way of protecting people against harmful, contagious diseases before they come into contact with them. It does this by using your body’s natural defences to build resistance to specific diseases so if you come into contact with that disease in the future, your immune system remembers it and responds quickly to prevent the disease from developing.

After immunisation, you are far less likely to catch the disease you have been immunised against. And if you do catch the disease, your illness will be less severe and your recovery will be quicker.

And it not only protects you and your family, but also others in the community by reducing the spread of preventable diseases now and in the future. In fact, many infectious diseases are rare or eradicated as a result of immunisation programs in Australia such as the National Immunisation Program Schedule.

In other words, the more people who get immunised, the more difficult it is for these diseases to be spread. This helps to protect people who are more at risk of getting disease, including those who are too young or too sick to be vaccinated. It is called the ‘herd immunity’ and can ultimately save lives.

Who needs to be immunised?

So who needs to be immunised? The simple answer – almost everyone! However, there are some exceptions. Usually, people with a serious medical condition (i.e. a weak immune system) or are severely allergic (anaphylactic) to vaccine ingredients should not be immunised. Other circumstances that could potentially prevent you from being immunised include if you:

  • Have a fever of more than 38.5 degrees celsius on the day
  • Are receiving a medical treatment such as chemotherapy
  • Have had a bad reaction to a vaccine in the past
  • Are planning pregnancy, are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Are an organ transplant recipient
  • Have an autoimmune disease or chronic condition

On the other hand, vaccination is particularly recommended if you:

  • Are a newborn or young child
  • Have a newborn baby
  • Are caring for very young babies (e.g. parents, grandparents and carers)
  • Are an older person
  • Have plans to travel outside of Australia (ask your travel agent or check on the Smart Traveller website)
  • Are medically at risk due to certain conditions (i.e. asthma) or treatment

So before you decide for or against immunisation, always check with your GP first. Your doctor will advise which immunisations you need based on your HALO:

  • Health: Some health conditions may make you more vulnerable to vaccine-preventable disease (e.g. babies born prematurely or people with weakened immune systems may benefit from additional or more frequent immunisations)
  • Age: People need protection from different diseases at different ages
  • Lifestyle: Lifestyle choices can have an impact on immunisation needs (e.g. you may benefit from immunisations if you are travelling overseas, planning a family, are sexually active, a smoker or play sport that may expose you to someone’s blood)
  • Occupation: Some jobs may expose you to a greater risk of contact with vaccine-preventable disease or put you into contact with people who are more susceptible to vaccine-preventable diseases (e.g. people working in aged care, child care, health care or emergency services)

Immunisation services at St John Medical

At St John Medical, we take immunisation very seriously which is why we offer a comprehensive range of immunisation across our network, including a registered travel vaccination service at our Joondalup clinic. We also provide all childhood immunisations, both script and order vaccinations, and our annual Flu Clinic to provide protection against winter influenza. The entire list of immunisations offered at St John Medical includes:

  • Boostrix (Whooping Cough, Tetanus and Diphtheria)
  • Chickenpox
  • Diphtheria
  • Haemophilus Influenza Type B (Hib)
  • Hepatitis B
  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella (German Measles)
  • Meningococcal C
  • Pneumococcal
  • Polio
  • Rotavirus
  • Tetanus
  • Typhoid, Hepatitis A and Influenza (Flu)

For further information about immunisation or to book an appointment, contact St John Medical today.

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