Lapsed vaccinations putting older Australians’ health at risk

A new Galaxy Poll has found that at least one in four Australians aged 60 and over are not having the recommended vaccinations for their age, putting their health at risk and increasing their chance of dying from preventable illness.

The study revealed that only four per cent of older Australians are vaccinated against shingles, 33 per cent for pneumonia and 70 per cent for influenza. Overall, 28 per cent of those aged between 65-69 are not up to date with their vaccinations.

Now that we are moving into the time of year when instances of colds and flu increase and with immune systems being tested, health professionals are urging people to check their vaccination records and have the necessary shots in order to safeguard their health.

The poll showed that children have a 90 per cent vaccination rate, but Immunisation Coalition Director Professor Paul Van Buynder says more should be made of older Australians being as diligent with their own vaccinations as they progress through their later years.

“Ageing makes us vulnerable to infections. When you skip vaccinations, you may leave yourself vulnerable to illnesses … so it is concerning to see such low rates of immunisation for these conditions among the over-60s,” said Professor Van Buynder. “Alongside eating healthily, exercising, and getting regular GP check-ups, vaccination plays a vital role in keeping us healthy at every stage in life. Vaccines are one of the most effective and safest preventive care measures available.”

With illnesses such as pneumonia and influenza accounting for over 2800 deaths in Australia each year and with 120,000 recorded instances of shingles occurring annually, it is more important than ever for older Australians to ensure their vaccinations are up to date.

Are your vaccinations up to date? Do you subscribe to vaccinations, or do you feel that you do enough to safeguard your health through diet and exercise? Given the success of raising awareness of flu shots, do you think similar campaigns for shingles, pneumonia, inter al, would help to boost the vaccination rate in over 60s?

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