The importance of immunisation and a message for everyone

October 02, 2018
Immune system B cell. Credit: NIAID (CC-BY-2.0)

The Australian Academy of Science has joined with the Australian Department of Health to launch a series of videos, articles and images to dispel vaccination myths and to promote the benefits, safety and science of immunisation.

Secretary for Science Policy at The Australian Academy of Science, Professor David Day FAA, said the updated content is aimed at addressing some of the prevailing views toward immunisation revealed in the latest survey of Australians’ beliefs and attitudes towards science.

“Respondents from the survey who said childhood vaccination should not be compulsory cited reasons such as ‘(the) reaction can be harmful / allergic in some cases (18%) and ‘(I) don’t trust vaccines / they don’t always work / they’re not necessary (12%),” Professor Day said.

“We hope that the misunderstandings about immunisation that still exist in some parts of the community can be addressed through this new series.

“On a positive note the survey found that more than half of the respondents who supported compulsory vaccination for children cited herd immunity and other related ideas as a reason for their position. Herd immunity and how it works is one of the topics clearly explained in our video series,” Professor Day said.

Topics explored in each video, article and image include:

  1.  Immunisation overview 
  2. What is immunisation? 
  3. What’s in a vaccine? 
  4. Who benefits from vaccination? 
  5. How safe are vaccines (and how do we know)? 
  6. What’s the future of vaccination? 

The content is based on the Academy publication: The Science of Immunisation: Questions and Answers.

The content has been rigorously fact-checked by Academy Fellows and features some of Australia’s leading experts in the field including:

  • Laureate Professor Peter Doherty AO FAA, Doherty Institute, who won a Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1996 for his contributions to the science of immunisation.
  • Professor Anne Kelso AO FAA, CEO of the National Health and Medical Research Council
  • Professor Robert Booy, immunologist, Westmead Institute for Medical Research
  • Professor Ian Frazer FAA, Gardasil vaccine co-founder, University of Queensland
  • Professor Julie Bines, lead rotavirus researcher at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

Watch the videos and read the articles here.

Find out more via the Department of Health.

© 2018 Australian Academy of Science

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