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Immunisation FAQ'S

 Do you have questions about immunisation?  http://www.talkingaboutimmunisation.org.au/


Q- What is Immunisation?

A – Immunisation protects children (and adults) against harmful infections before they come into contact with them in the community.  Immunisation uses the body’s natural defence mechanism – the immunise response – to build resistance to specific infections. Immunisation helps children to stay healthy by preventing serious infections.  The risks of the diseases are far greater than the very small risks of immunisation.


The diseases which can be prevented by routine childhood immunisations are included in the National Immunisation Program Schedule.


Q – Why is immunisation still necessary in this day and age?

A – Many diseases prevented by immunisation are spread directly from person to person, so good food, water and hygiene do not stop infection.  Despite excellent hospital care, significant illness, disability and death can still be caused by diseases which can be prevented by immunisation.


Q – Are there any reasons to delay immunisation?

A - There are very few medical reasons to delay immunisation. If a child is sick with a high temperature (over 38.5 degrees celcius) then immunisation should be postponed until the child is recovering. A child who has a runny nose, but is not ill can be immunised, as a child who is on antibiotics and obviously recovering from an illness.


Q – What are the side-effects of immunisation?

A-  Common side-effects of immunisation are redness and soreness at the site of an injection and mild fever. You may consider using paracetamol to help ease the fever and soreness. More serious reactions to immunisation are very rare.


Q – Do vaccines work for all children?

A – Even when someone has had all the doses of a vaccine, there is a small possibility that they might not be protected against the disease – but measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, polio, hepatitis B and Hib vaccines protect more than 95% of children who have completed the course.


Q – What about natural immunity?

A – Natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are both natural responses of the body’s immune system. The body’s immune response in both circumstances is the same. However, the wild or natural form of a disease exposes people to a high risk of serious illness and occasionally death.


Q – Can immunisation overload the immune system?

A – No. Children and adults come into contact with many antigens (substances that provoke a reaction from the immunise system) each day, and the immune system responds to each antigen in specific ways to protect the body.  Without a vaccine, a child can only become immune to a disease by being exposed to infection, with the risk of severe illness. If illness occurs after vaccination, it is usually insignificant.


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