Children are offered a range of immunisations from the time they are born through to their teenage years. It’s important for mums and dads to stay up to date with vaccinations too, to keep the whole family healthy. Essi Huhtinen, Sydney Local Health District’s Immunisation Coordinator tells us why.
“Immunisation is one of the most significant medical inventions in human history. It has had an enormous impact on reducing the burden of disease worldwide. But we need to keep vaccinating to enjoy the benefits.”
While good vaccination rates in New South Wales mean we are generally well protected from many vaccine preventable diseases, all it can take is passing contact with one infected person to put you or your child at risk.
“Due to international travel to and from Australia, we still regularly come across infectious diseases which are no longer common here. Some of these diseases can be fatal. Therefore, it is very important to ensure your child is vaccinated” says Ms Huhtinen.
For many mums and dads one of the hardest things about having children immunised is putting them through the pain of a needle or two. But if you’re confident, it will help your little one.
“Various distraction techniques work best with small children. Our immunisation nurses are excellent at what they do and use these techniques on a daily basis, even with older kids.”
Ideally, children will be immunised on time and to help busy parents with that, there’s a phone app ‘Save the Date to Vaccinate’ which can send reminders about when vaccinations are due. If you do fall behind though, Ms Huhtinen says it’s never too late to catch up.
In the winter months, it’s important for all family members to take precautions against the flu, with the influenza vaccination recommended for anyone over the age of six months.
To find out more about vaccinations for your child, Sydney Local Health District recommends talking to your GP.