We provide all childhood vaccinations that are free to holders of Medicare cards.
The Practice Nurses at Collins Street Medical Centre are immunisation accredited providers and continually attend update courses on the changing paediatric vaccination schedule.
Currently babies are immunised against Hepatitis B at the hospital on the day of their birth. They then have vaccinations at 6 weeks, 4 months and 6 months and then at 12 months, 18 months and 4 years of age.
Adolescents receive vaccinations primarily via their schools but catch up vaccinations can occur at the surgery.
Pneumococcal disease is the name of a range of illnesses caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae and can cause blood and brain infections such as meningitis.
Pertussis Vaccination and Illness – Whooping Cough
Whooping cough or Pertussis rates in Australia in 2011 reached a 20 year high with over 38,500 cases being diagnosed.
Sadly several babies died from complications of whooping cough often caught from unvaccinated adults affected with pertussis. This has led to a change in the immunisation schedule with infants being vaccinated at 6 weeks, 4 months and 6 months.
The pertussis vaccine was provided free to all new parents for some years but this ceased in June 2012. We strongly recommend that all new parents continue to receive the Pertussis vaccine, as should all adults, such as grandparents and carers, who will be in close contact with the infants.
It is an inactive vaccine with few side effects and is free for all children and adolescents with Medicare cards and approximately $45 privately.
It is ideal if women become vaccinated pre pregnancy to provide immunity to their babies in the 6 week period pre routine vaccinations which is the most high risk time. Immunity increases after the second vaccination at 4 months.
There are 300,000 deaths annually worldwide from Pertussis. The Pertussis vaccine is good at decreasing the risk of severe disease and death but does not prevent the illness altogether. Those immunised are less likely to transmit infection to those around them if infected and experience a more mild illness.
Flu Vaccine and Influenza
As many of our patients travel on public transport, work in large air conditioned offices and travel frequently on planes they are at elevated risk of influenza and so we recommend and provide the annual influenza vaccine.
Immunity decreases over time and vaccination is needed each year to ensure you continue to be protected. Vaccination is recommended in autumn to allow time for immunity to be strengthened before the flu season starts.
Even if you received a flu vaccination towards the end of the last flu season, you should still be vaccinated again before this flu season.
The flu vaccine is now provided free to all at high risk from influenza such as pregnant women, diabetics, asthmatics and others with chronic medical illnesses.
Those who become infected and who have not been vaccinated and are at high risk or in contact with those at high risk should seek medical attention within 48 hours to discuss treatment with antiviral medication.
Measles immunity is often low in the 19 to 32 year old age group and measles outbreaks have occurred often from people travelling from overseas. It is advisable to update measles vaccination if in this age group or immunity can be determined by a simple blood test.
Rubella immunity also often decreases and is a special risk to pregnant women. Immunity is checked and vaccination provided to non immune women prior to pregnancy. After vaccination pregnancy must be avoided for one month as it is a live vaccine.
Immunity to chickenpox is also important pre-pregnancy. Children now receive this vaccine at 18 months of age but many adults are non immune and if this is confirmed by a blood test, 2 injections are given over a 2 month period.
People 65 and over are at higher risk of pneumonia and a free vaccine is given against this. It is given earlier to high risk groups.