How do immunisations work?
Vaccines work by exposing our bodies to small, safe, inactive doses of bacteria or virus that can cause disease. In response, our white blood cells activate and begin to make antibodies. These antibodies remain in our immune system, and are able to respond immediately if exposed to the active disease in the future. In other words, the vaccine tricks our body into thinking it is under assault, and the immune system responds by making a weapon which is on standby for future infection. The reason why there isn’t a ‘one vaccine fix all’ solution, is that the antibodies created by the body are specific to each particular disease. Further, some diseases, such as influenza (the flu), change enough to make existing antibodies ineffective. This is why we need flu shots every year.
Children’s immune systems are still developing, therefore they are more vulnerable to infections than most adults. It is therefore essential to the health and wellbeing of your child, that they undertake all prescribed immunisations for their age.
Child immunisation programs are for birth, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 12 months, 18 months and 4 years. There is also a school immunisation program for 10-15 year olds.
If you have concerns about anything you may have read or heard regarding childhood immunisation, please feel free to come in and see a HealthMint doctor to clarify any questions you may have.
Immunisations required in adulthood can vary depending on your age, indigenous status, occupation, previous injury or illness, immunisation history, travel plans or if you are planning on starting a family. For example, booster doses of childhood immunisations may be required to maintain immunity from certain diseases (such as whooping cough). If you are unsure, it’s best to speak with your doctor for more information.
HealthMint would like to remind you that if you are over 65 years of age you are considered ‘at risk’ and should have a pneumococcal vaccine and an annual influenza (flu) vaccine.
Influenza is a virus which is commonly transmitted from person to person through the air by coughing, sneezing, talking or touching infected surfaces or hands. The flu is highly common, and for some at risk groups can even be fatal. At risk groups include pregnant women and people over 65 years of age.
It is recommended that everyone get a flu shot every year. We run annual flu drives for this – please contact reception to participate.
HealthMint offers vaccination required for overseas travel, and highly recommends that you see a doctor to arrange this at least 6 weeks before departure. You can find out more on our Travel Medicine page as well as on our blog.
Shingles is a blistering rash which is quite painful, caused by reactivation of the same virus that causes chickenpox. Singles involves inflammation of the nerve tissue, and can appear via multiple symptoms. Symptoms include headache, fever and flu like symptoms to start with, as well as a stinging or burning sensation prior to the appearance of a rash.
To prevent shingles, for adults aged 70 years a free Shingles vaccine is provided under the National Immunisation Program. Additionally, adults aged 71-79 are able to receive a free single catch-up dose until 31 October 2021.