Aussies At Risk In Overseas Immunisation Crisis, Says Professor

Nov 13, 2018

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Even Australians who are fully immunised could be in danger as vaccination rates in Indonesia plummet, says a professor.

“Countries that haven’t got good immunisation rates -- and Indonesia is one --have more measles and rubella,” ANU’s professor Peter Collingnon has told FIVEaa’s Leon Byner. “That can be a problem for us.”

“You could say it shouldn’t be a problem for us because we’re all fully immunised… but the trouble with measles is people who bring it back to Australia are often not immunised… and they bring it back.

“The trouble with any vaccine we’ve got is it’s never 100 per cent effective. Even if something is 95 per cent effective, which sounds pretty good, it means there is a percentage of the population that will be still be susceptible. And also immunity can wane a bit with time.

“Yes, it is a problem even for people from Australia who should all be immunised… although to put it in perspective their chances are very much lower than if they weren’t immunised.

“The trouble with measles it is a very infectious agent so one person can infect 20 or 30 others… you can still have it spreading in a country like Australia.”

Professor Collingnon advised anyone travelling overseas to make sure their immunisations are up to date and take care with their personal hygiene. And if you do fall ill, tell your doctor you have been travelling.

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