For the first time ever, Australians now have access to comprehensive, balanced, up-to-date information about current vaccination recommendations to help prevent diseases such as measles, mumps and whooping cough in the community.
A breakthrough for the Australian health industry, the new website myvaccination.com.au is a consumer-friendly, online resource for vaccine-preventable diseases.
Professor Bernie Hudson, an infectious disease expert, says myvaccination.com.au is a timely resource for Australians as outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases persist.
“Despite great initiatives such as the National Immunisation Program – most adults don’t know what they have been immunised for.
Myvaccination.com.au is aligned to Australia’s National Immunisation Program and created by vaccine manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline. It has taken two years to develop and is based on the Australian National Immunisation Handbook and, for travel vaccination, also draws from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention website.
“Mothers know about their children’s program but the rest of the community are oblivious,” says Professor Hudson.
Dr Cheryl Keech, Associate Medical Director for Biologicals at GSK, says the website’s overall goal is to educate the community about the various vaccinations recommended in Australia to help prevent infection and maintain immunity.
“Myvaccination.com.au is a one-stop shop for vaccination information. It is a simple tool that everyone can use to find answers to their questions about vaccination,” says Dr Keech.
Whopping cough outbreaks continue to occur every three to four years. The latest outbreak started in 2008 and, since then, notifications of whooping cough have been increasing due to a number of factors including waning immunity.
“It is important for people to realise whooping cough can affect adults and has public health consequences – so they need to protect themselves,” says Professor Hudson.
“Unlike some other childhood diseases such as measles, getting whooping cough doesn't give lifelong immunity – a person may still get it again. Nor do the vaccines for whooping cough provide lifelong immunity.
“Consequently, adults can be a source of whooping cough for young babies who are not fully immunised against the disease,” explains Professor Hudson.
“While the current outbreak has been going on for three years, notifications levels are still very high.
“We’re not even half-way through the year and already we’ve reached notification levels that surpass the number reported during the peak of the last outbreak (2005),” says Professor Hudson.
According to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System, notifications for whooping cough in Australia in 2005 were 11,167 compared to 34,886 in 2010 (and about 15,000 to date in 2011).
“In the case of whooping cough, we hope the site may prompt adults, particularly those who are coming in contact with babies – such as grandparents and carers, to discuss with their doctor whether a booster shot is appropriate for them.
“We encourage all Australians to visit the site and determine what vaccinations are recommended at any stage of life.
“Most importantly, we encourage people to see their doctor in order to determine which vaccines are appropriate for them and members of their family.” says Dr Keech.
For further information, go to www.myvaccination.com.au
GlaxoSmithKline – one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies – is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. For further information please visit www.gsk.com.au