Influenza Vaccine In Australia

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Influenza is a common disease worldwide. In Australia, there is a yearly outbreak the occurs between May and September (SA Health, 2015). According to Influenza Specialist Group, approximately 18000 people are hospitalised and 3500 Australians pass away due to influenza each year. (Infleunza specialist Group, 2013) In Australia, a yearly vaccination is recommended to protect people from influenza. This report will investigate the rationale for and against compulsory influenza vaccination for all Australians over the age of five.

Influenza is a viral disease that is spread through respiratory transmission and affects the respiratory tract including the nose, throat and lungs. There are 3 viruses that cause influenza; Influenza types A,B and
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Firstly, the effectiveness of the vaccine is very high. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the chance of contracting influenza can by reduced by up to 70% through yearly vaccination. It can also reduce the rate of serious complications such as pneumonia and hospitalisation by 60-90% (Schanzer DL, Langley JM, & Tam TW, 2008). The vaccination would protect people from contracting the most severe and common strains of influenza. Influenza has a significant mortality rate within Australia as (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013)effectiveness of the vaccine in individuals, it would also be beneficial for immunocompromised people within our society such as seniors, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and those with diseases such as HIV and Leukaemia, for the majority of Australians to have immunity to the influenza virus. This is due to the concept of herd immunity, in which those with weak immune systems would not come into contact with the virus due to the majority of the population being vaccinated against it. Making the influenza vaccination compulsory would also be beneficial economically. The Influenza Specialist Group states that 10% of staff absenteeism each year is due to influenza (Infleunza specialist Group, 2013). This equates to a significant loss of money, and therefore compulsory vaccination would have a positive effect on Australia’s …show more content…
As stated above, vaccination has prevents contraction of influenza by up to 70%, reduces the rate of hospitalisation of Australians by up to 90% (The Royal College of Pathologist of Australia, 2012), and is also beneficial economically. Researchers have found that the side effects are very mild and expected, such as fatigue, tiredness and muscle ache. The Australian Government stated that “ All vaccines used in Australia have been extensively tested for safety” (Government of Western Australia, 2015). These symptoms are not life threatening, whereas influenza may have serious life-threatening complications such as pneumonia. Preventing most individuals from being infected with influenza would protect the community through herd immunity, leading to a healthier society overall.

In conclusion, I believe that the seasonal influenza vaccine must be compulsory for everyone in Australia over the age of five years old due to the individual and societal health benefits, as well as the economic benefits to Australia. I believe that these outweigh the risk of generally mild side effects in individuals and of incomplete immunity to all strains of

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