Vaccines and immunisation - overview

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Why learn about vaccines and immunisation? Image:

Vaccines are used to immunise people against infectious diseases, such as polio, hepatitis and whooping cough (pertussis). Immunisation helps prevent diseases that can cause illness, severe disability or even death.

For some diseases, immunising the whole population can eradicate the disease completely (as with smallpox) or make it very rare. Find out more about vaccination, immunity and why you should be immunised.

Who should be vaccinated and when?

Who should be vaccinated and when depends on the type of vaccine and the disease, and whether you are more at risk of getting the disease, or having serious complications from it. For example, the flu can have a much worse impact on someone who is already unwell than on a young healthy person.

Most Australians are immunised in childhood, but teenagers, some adults and older people may also need certain vaccinations. Find out about current recommendations for these age groups as well as for other people who might need protection, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, pregnant women and travellers.

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