Importance of Herd Immunity
What is herd immunity?
Herd immunity occurs when a significant amount of the population is protected through vaccination against a virus or bacteria making it difficult for a disease to spread because there are so few susceptible people left to infect.
Why is herd immunity important?
It is important because it can help to protect members of a community that cannot be vaccinated, such as children who are too young, people with immune system problems or those who are too ill. Herd immunity can essentially stop the spread of a disease within a community.
How can you help to spread herd immunity?
When vaccination rates decline, herd immunity can breakdown leading to an increase of people contracting otherwise preventable diseases. Both the outbreak of measles in the US and pertussis in the UK has been linked to a decline in herd immunity. That is why it is important to receive the recommended vaccines as per the recommended schedule, especially for children. You can source the Immunisation Schedule developed by the Victorian Government here. This schedule outlines the recommended vaccines from birth right through to adulthood.
How can you ensure your children receive their immunisations on time?
In Australia, vaccination is offered to infants and children aged 0-4 under the National Immunisation Program. These are available for free through local councils or through general practitioners. At Breed St Clinic, we can administer your child’s vaccinations as per the government schedule and send out reminders when their next vaccine shots are due. This will help to not only keep your family and community healthy but also allow you to qualify for childcare rebates, government assistance and enrol your child in day care which would not be an option otherwise.
What can you do if you think your child has missed a vaccination?
If you think your child has missed a vaccination, it is important to talk to your GP. They will be able to determine any vaccines that have been missed which will then allow them to create a schedule to get your child up to date with their immunisations. In absence of immunisation records, this determination will usually be made through a blood test which can identify what a person is immune to. If it is determined that the child has missed some vaccines the National Immunisation Program will provide these vaccines for free if this schedule is begun on or before the child’s 20th birthday.
Advances in vaccinations have made significant contributions to the health and wellbeing of our communities with vaccines eradicating some illnesses altogether. It is important that we all work together to protect those most vulnerable in our families and community by utilising the resources that we have available to us. Contact us at Breed St Clinic today if you would like to discuss how we can help get yours and your family’s vaccinations up to date.