At-risk older Australians shun free vaccine

Health experts urge governments to spread the word.

At-risk group shuns free vaccine

Many older at-risk Australians are failing to take advantage of a free vaccine for the potentially deadly infection pneumococcal pneumonia, health experts are warning.

Lung Foundation Australia says pneumonia claims the lives of about 2000 elderly people each year and is concerned that the vaccination rate for people aged 65 and over has fallen to below 50 per cent.

It says that each year about 15,000 people visit their doctor due to pneumococcal pneumonia and about 8000 people are hospitalised.

Researchers at University of NSW’s Vaccine and Infection Research Lab say governments and doctors must work harder to spread the message that the potentially life-threatening condition is preventable.

“The most recent data suggest pneumococcal vaccination coverage has actually declined to 47 per cent in NSW, with more than half of these vaccinations occurring after 70 years of age,” said the university’s infectious diseases researcher Dr Rob Menzies.

“This decline must be urgently reversed. Doctors should be looking to opportunistically vaccinate those at risk of pneumococcal pneumonia in the same way as they do for other population-based programs.”

The researchers told MJA Insight that the main vaccine was provided free under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) Schedule in the form of a single dose for otherwise healthy people aged 65 years and over. They said people with chronic disease or smokers aged under 65 years should get a prescription from their GP and buy the vaccine which generally costs about $40, but is free in some states.

“It is important for individuals to take the initiative for their own health,” Dr Menzies said. “Anyone who smokes, has a chronic disease, has an immuno-compromising condition or is aged 65 years or older should talk to their GP about whether they should have a pneumococcal vaccination, or revaccination.

“Given pneumonia is a potentially life-threatening respiratory infection, should an individual develop a cough, fever, shortness of breath and feel generally tired and unwell, they should head to their doctor without delay.”

Have you had a vaccination for pneumonia? Do you intend to get one?

This article contains general information about health issues and is not advice. For health advice, consult your medical practitioner.

RELATED ARTICLES





    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    Theo1943
    15th May 2018
    10:03am
    A coincidence, got mine yesterday along with the Flu vax.
    BrianP
    15th May 2018
    10:43am
    We are just turning 65 and my wife has asthma so we were considering the super flu vaccination. Then our electrician who is the same age had the vaccination and immediately became badly ill for over a week with flu and confined to bed.

    Not the best encouragement.
    HarrysOpinion
    15th May 2018
    11:18am
    My first flu vaccination was in 2015 and the same happened to me two weeks later. So i didn't have a flu shot in 2016 nor 2017. Then in 2017, I had another bout of flu and GP prescribed antibiotics but,I still had the flu shot one this year, just in case. Better to be safe then sorry.
    Jim
    15th May 2018
    11:31am
    My understanding is that you can not get the flu from the vaccination, but I had mine last week and the nurse said I might get flu like symptoms but I could not get the flu from it. I do have the flu vaccine every year and so far have never had any bad effects, also had the pneumonia vaccine last year with no side effects, so for me will continue to get it.
    Sceptic
    15th May 2018
    12:38pm
    The vaccine takes about two weeks to become effective, so your electrician, Brian, unfortunately already had the flu when vaccinated.
    Allyfleaau
    15th May 2018
    3:04pm
    You are probably right Sceptic. A Doctor will not give you the shot if you are demonstrating Flu like symtoms. It takes a few days for the Flu virus to develope in your system after you contract it anway. My wife and I had the Super Flu injection a week ago and we are fine.

    A point of interest, with the pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine, do you have to have followup period injections, or does one injection do the trick ?
    neil
    15th May 2018
    11:04am
    Maybe a lot of us are waking up to that the vaccines do not work as there does not appear to be any independent studies done that prove that they work and some of the ingredients well that's another story, they would kill a brown dog.
    Nutrition is the secret, your imune system was designed to fight all infections and with todays fresh food and awesome amount of information on nutrition you should be able to take back control of your health from the witch doctors and through away the toxic poisons from the pharmaceutical terroists. Time to take back your health, you CAN do it
    Jim
    15th May 2018
    11:39am
    Suffered with the flu for many years, have always been well looked after by wife who has always provided great nutritional food, but since the flu is spread by others that have got the flu it's hard to keep it at bay, I guess being healthy does help prevent the worst of the symptoms, but I have had the flu injection every year for the last 8 years and have not had the flu at all in that time, I guess each of us are different, I think some make the mistake of calling a cold the flu.
    Sceptic
    15th May 2018
    12:40pm
    And the earth is flat neil.
    miker
    15th May 2018
    1:02pm
    Agree with Jim and have had a similar experience. The school kids are a constant source of random cold and viral infections. Pays to have a packet of Tamiflu (or similar) tabs on hand to lessen the effect of the cold or flu. This is what the doctors do
    HarrysOpinion
    15th May 2018
    11:11am
    My GP wasn't going to have any for another 4 weeks !!!! So I went to the local chemist and bought one for $10.99. Free or not, it's worth having.
    TREBOR
    15th May 2018
    11:17am
    Dang - I've had two bouts of that bloody 'orrible bronchitis in the past six months... finally had the shot. I'm you typical Aussie bloke who won't touch an aspirin without good cause.
    AutumnOz
    15th May 2018
    11:31am
    More people would probably take advantage of the free vaccinations available if they could, many can't as they are either allergic to or have a bad reaction to eggs and most of the vaccinations are grown in an egg cultures.
    Because of this I have been refused a couple of vaccinations I would have liked to have and the doctor warned me to stay away from crowded shopping centres or any where I could be at risk of the flu etc.
    Captain
    16th May 2018
    10:18am
    AutumnOz, many years ago I became I'll after a flu injection, turns out it was cultured in fish eggs/products and I am allergic to fish/shellfish.

    Have had the jabs (cultured in eggs) every years since then and no flu.

    Also I retired the year of the fish cultured jab, so not in big air-conditioned buildings and we do not go into big shopping Centre's unless it is necessary.
    johnp
    15th May 2018
    11:34am
    Is that pneumonia vax in addition to the higher level flu vax for over 65s ? Or is that vax a separate one ?
    johnp
    15th May 2018
    11:35am
    sorry meant : is that pneumonia vax inincluded in the higher level flu vax for over 65s ?
    Jim
    15th May 2018
    11:50am
    Not according to my doctor, I had both last year, an earlier commentator also indicated they had both this year"
    Snowflake
    15th May 2018
    12:43pm
    If vaccines don't work how is that small pox is now eradicated except for research purposes. Vaccines have saved many thousands from death and yet there are still people out there with their conspiracy theorys how it causes autism and other nonsense. My daughtere in law carries on with that nonsense and cites doctors who have since been struck off for purposely misleading for financial gain.
    And you cannot catch the flu from an immunisation shot. People that do get sick could have picked up an infection days before their shot. You can get mild flu like symptoms for a day but that's about it.
    Jim
    15th May 2018
    12:59pm
    That's exactly my understanding, also I think many confuse the flu with a cold, I have faith that most doctors have my best interests at heart and has very little to do with financial gain. My granddaughter is studying to work in medical research her are reasons are completely on compassionate grounds, do nothing to do with financial gain.
    FEDUP
    15th May 2018
    12:51pm
    Since 1995 I have had a total of 4 Pneumonia Vaccine shots. I was advised by my Doctor that seeing I had had that number, I did not require any shots again.
    He also advised that the normal number of Pneumonia shots were 2, and that covered myself for life.
    I cannot get the Flu vaccine as I am intolerant to eggs, which the culture is grown on the albumin to obtain the vaccine.
    ROB
    15th May 2018
    1:18pm
    We are with Neil on this. We travel the world regularly, meeting thousands of people, many elderly, and over the last couple of years are finding over 90% are avoiding vaccinations totally! The people avoiding vaccinations are the healthy ones and generally with that mindset look after themselves with proper food and nutrition.
    The unhealthy ones are those that regularly receive vaccinations and suffer terribly regardless of how well they try and look after themselves otherwise. Along with this problem are the children also suffering with vaccinations – but that is another story.
    While these results are what we notice with so many people it is only our opinion from what we observe. Personally, we keep ourselves healthy with safe food and nutrition and add to this by keeping our Glutathione levels raised. We do not suffer with flu or any of the regular bugs others appear to be susceptible to, even after their supposed vaccinations to prevent them from the very issue they are trying to avoid? And NO, do not blame us healthy ones for the issues the vaccinated suffer with as after all they have already been vaccinated against the issue?
    Jim
    15th May 2018
    2:32pm
    I find this post a bit hard to believe, I am not calling you a liar, but my experience is a lot different to yours, my wife and I travel very frequently, our travel consists of cruising and travelling around Europe we obviously meet thousands of people especially on cruise ships that often carry over 3000 passengers, and I can honestly say that the topic of getting the flu after receiving the vaccines has rarely come up, but your experience of finding 90% are avoiding vaccines alltogether must be quite rare unless you are going overseas to attend seminars relating to anti vaccination seminars, then perhaps I could understand. We cruise 4/5 times a year and often people complain of having coughs and sore throats after coming off a cruise, this is not related to the flu!
    Sundays
    20th May 2018
    1:43pm
    I look at your photo Rob and you seem of an age when you can remember unvaccinated kids who had polio, and whooping cough. You surely don’t wish to return to those terrible times.
    ROB
    20th May 2018
    2:47pm
    You are correct Sundays. My elder brother developed polio, strangely enough he was born at the time when DDT was introduced to farming in the area in Victoria where I was born. Polio appeared to have disappeared during the couple of years until I was born and has not been an issue since. I also come from a very large family and even researching back to early 1800s my brother was the only one that developed polio. Strange that? I was vaccinated at school in the 1940s and 50s for polio and other supposed issues that also appear to have disappeared? While we are aggressively being herded into the vaccine mentality it is the ingredients and effectiveness of the actual vaccinations that should have us researching? When vaccines are proven safe and effective I may reconsider but while they are NOT I will not. There are already far safer and effective alternatives already available for ALL ages.
    meg
    15th May 2018
    1:43pm
    BS, Vaccines lower immunity and you get rid of old folk
    Jim
    15th May 2018
    2:38pm
    The proof suggests the opposite, most people are living longer, and many are much fitter and can do more than our parents ever did at a similar age. There might be exceptions but in the main we live a far better life, some of this can be put down to better nutrition, but we can cure more things nowadays and some of this I believe is because o vaccinations.
    neil
    15th May 2018
    4:00pm
    I've had flu shots for years and not had flu. Also had pneumonia one off shot; all is well.

    another Neil.
    MD
    17th May 2018
    10:38am
    A matter of choice, get the freebie or take the risk. Either way doesn't guarantee protection from all/any new or developing flu strain. Weigh up the odds, but if declining the free jab and then fall victim you've no-one else to blame, simple.


    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles