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With the flu season approaching it is timely to start talking about vaccination. This is a clear case where prevention is better than the cure, because there is no cure. Influenza can have serious consequences. It is estimated to cause more than 3500 deaths in Australia each year and up to 500,000 deaths worldwide. This is on top of the estimate 13,000 hospitalisations in Australia and countless workdays lost to illness.
Vaccinating against influenza is one of the most effective strategies we have to combat this disease. It is effective not only because it protects those who are vaccinated, but it also reduces the total number of cases which reduces exposure of those who are not vaccinated. The influenza vaccines we use are effective and have an excellent safety profile. The vaccines are free from your doctor many people in our community. These include:
This year we are also able to offer vaccination in our pharmacy. If you are unable to see your doctor to be vaccinated, we can help you with this. If you are entitled to a free vaccine you will still have to see your doctor. We do have early supplies of the influenza vaccines instore now.
The arguments against vaccination
There is much media attention on the negatives of vaccination. This applies to all vaccination, not just against influenza. Pauline Hanson gained much attention recently with her comments on this topic. Whilst it is everyone’s right to decide for themselves, it is important that this decision is based on facts, not on myths and political point scoring. In every case, the risk of any vaccine is lower than the danger of the disease in a given community. Only clean water supplies are more effective at reducing disease burden. There are many diseases we now very rarely see because of the success
of vaccination programs. Conversely, we do see the incidence of some of these diseases rising again as vaccination rates drop in some areas.
Very importantly, much of the negative information on vaccination (especially in children causing autism) comes from research published in a very respected medical journal. However, this research was later found to be fraudulent, the article was retracted and the researcher has been banned from practising. This hasn’t stopped the anti-vaccination lobby from still using this false research. So, please make your own decisions regarding vaccination but please base your decision on the facts, not what you see in news media (and maybe listen to your doctor rather than a politician).
As always, if you would like more information on this or anyone health topic please come and speak with one of our pharmacists.
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