A baby being immunised at a Burnet Institute-supported maternal and child health clinic in Laos.
The World Health Organization’s World Immunisation Week is an opportunity to raise awareness of the effectiveness of vaccines.
According to the WHO, immunisation prevents two to three million deaths each year from diseases such as diphtheria, measles, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumonia, polio, rotavirus diarrhea, rubella and tetanus.
Today, more than 22 million of the world’s children (about one-fifth of infants) are still not being immunised.
At Burnet, we are working on a number of initiatives to increase immunisation awareness internationally.
Including Dr Chris Morgan’s research into how best to scale-up vaccination against hepatitis B within 24 hours of birth, and we published advocacy and policy briefs based on the 2012 findings.
“In May 2010, the World Health Assembly agreed that all babies should have access to the first dose of hepatitis B vaccine in the first 24 hours of life, when it is most effective,” Dr Morgan said.
“This also drive health staff to reach mothers and babies with other life-saving care at the time of life when they are most vulnerable.”
Other immunisation highlights at Burnet:
- A national immunisation coverage survey in Fiji conducted by Dr Tony Stewart, Geoffrey Chan and Liz Comrie-Thomson from Burnet’s Centre for International Health, updated the previous survey of 2008, and showed an overall improved coverage of vaccines.
- Dr Ben Coghlan also created program designs for Save the Children’s Afghanistan program, which supports child health, including immunisation services.
- As the ‘polio eradication end-game’ gains momentum, Professor Mike Toole AM continued his involvement on the Independent Monitoring Board of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. He reviewed the initiative in southern Afghanistan and found significant progress has been achieved.