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Vaccination rates higher among infants than their grandparents: report

Despite media and political noise surrounding vaccine-hesitant parents, non-immunised children form a very small proportion of under-vaccinated Australians, and a shift of perspective is urgently required.

This is the call from Dr Rob Menzies, senior Lecturer at the University of New South Wales Vaccine and Infection Research Lab (UNSW VIRL) and lead author of a new report on the subject.

Published last week in the Medical Journal of Australia and titled Vaccine Myopia, the report found just under half (49 per cent) of Australian adults are not receiving the Government-funded vaccinations each year for influenza, pneumococcal pneumonia and shingles, compared to 7 per cent of Australian children and 27 per cent of Australian adolescents.

UNSW VIRL head and report co-author professor Raina MacIntyre said poor uptake of adult vaccination comes down to perception, and includes not placing older Australians on par with children as a disease-vulnerable group.

“Vaccination rates are significantly higher among infants versus their grandparents, despite the availability of free vaccines for both groups,” MacIntyre said. "This demonstrates the lower value that society places on keeping older Australians healthy."

Nursing Review sat down with MacIntyre to find out why we might be seeing these figures and how they can be addressed.

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