Protecting our children – and ourselves

Feeling confused about immunisation? It’s not surprising because there’s no shortage of misinformation on the subject. It’s wise to arm yourself with the truth to ensure you make the best, INFORMED decision about protecting your children and others from highly contagious, serious diseases.

Prior to the big vaccination campaigns of the 60’s and 70’s diseases like Tetanus, Whopping Cough (Pertussis) and Diphtheria killed thousands of young children each year. Thankfully, in Australia today most of these diseases are rare and widespread community IMMUNISATION can take all the credit.

Perhaps it’s because these diseases are largely ‘out of sight – out of mind’ that some parents have also become complacent about immunisation and unaware of the serious risks they are taking with the health of their children including everyone around them, when they fail to immunise and ensure the vaccinations are given on time.

The routine childhood immunisations currently provide protection against 13 diseases – – some of which will be familiar but others we don’t really hear about today. Take a minute to look at the summary of diseases and note how easily these are spread. You’ll see some of the very serious – often lasting effects and complications they can have upon those who are infected. For example if a pregnant woman is infected with Rubella it can cause serious birth malformations and Mumps can cause sterility in men. 

It’s also important to know the risks posed by any of these diseases is much higher than the risks of immunisation:


A highly contagious virus spread by respiratory secretions and open rash blisters (lesions). The complications include infection of lesions, pneumonia, brain infection, meningitis.


This is a contagious bacteria spread by droplets and it causes severe breathing difficulties. Complications include nerve and heart damage.

Hepatitis A

A contagious virus spread by contact with faeces or saliva, contaminated food or water. Its signs and symptoms are fever, weakness, loss of appetite, vomiting, dark urine, pale faeces, jaundice and stomach pain.

Hepatitis B

A contagious virus spread mainly by blood, sexual contact or from mother to newborn baby. Causes acute hepatitis or chronic carriage with complications, liver failure and liver cancer. Signs and symptoms are weakness, vomiting, stomach pain, muscle/joint pain, dark urine, pale faeces and jaundice.

Hib Disease

Another contagious bacteria spread by respiratory droplets; Hib causes meningitis, respiratory obstruction (epiglottitis), septicaemia and infection of the bones called osteomyelitis, the symptoms are a high fever, sensitivity to lights – you become drowsy and loose your appetite. Complications are meningitis, arthritis, pneumonia, death.


this virus is highly infectious and spreads by respiratory droplets. It causes fever, cough, rash, runny nose and eye inflammation. Measles complications are ear, brain and lung infection, brain damage and death.

Meningococcal C Disease

A bacteria spread by respiratory droplets causing infection of the blood stream (sepsis) and infection of the tissues surrounding the brain (meningitis). Symptoms are a high fever, neck stiffness, vomiting and sensitivity to light, irritability and drowsiness. The complications include meningitis, blood infection, pneumonia, arthritis, conjunctivitis.


Another contagious virus, spread by saliva causing swollen neck glands and fever, headache, aching muscles and swelling under the jaw. Serious complications include infection of testicles, ovaries, pancreas, liver, brain and heart, hearing loss, brain inflammation and sterility in men.


A contagious virus spread by faeces and saliva. 90% of the time there are no symptoms but they can include fever, headache, vomiting and it may progress to paralysis, meningitis and death.

Pneumococcal Disease

A bacteria spread by respiratory droplets which cause high fever, vomiting, headache, light sensitivity, appetite loss, irritability, drowsiness, neck stiffness, pneumonia, septicaemia and meningitis.

Rotavirus (gastroenteritis)

This contagious virus spreads by saliva and faeces causing severe gastroenteritis and fever – complications are severe diarrhoea, dehydration or shock.


This contagious virus spreads by respiratory droplets causing rash, fever, and swollen glands and may cause severe malformations to babies of infected pregnant women and brain infection. Signs and symptoms are rash, swollen lymph glands, joint pain.


This toxin producing bacteria in soil can spread to humans through cuts in the skin. Signs include muscle spasms, lockjaw, breathing difficulties and abnormal heart rhythms.

Whooping Cough

A contagious bacteria spread by respiratory droplets causing fever, persistent coughing for up to three months and sometimes vomiting. Complications are lung infection, lack of oxygen to the brain, brain damage and death.


Another contagious virus spread by respiratory droplets which can cause Pneumonia, liver complications and death. Symptoms are tiredness, high fever, muscle aches, headache, cough, sneezing, runny nose and poor appetite.

* Influenza is not on the vaccination schedule for all children. Some children do have special immunisation requirements so please ask your GP or one of our practice nurses for information.

Who to turn to for the best advice…

The very best advice we can give is to please speak to your GP – try to stick to the facts – there is no “hidden agenda” just sound medical advice you can trust. At Queen Street Medical Centre we are here to help support parents to immunise their children on time – missing or skipping vaccinations puts your child at greater risk of contracting preventable diseases.

Save the date

Save the date icon175x175NSW Health has developed the SAVE THE DATE phone app – it’s an easy, free tool to help you ensure your children are immunised on time – go to:

*Reference: Australian Government, Department of Health, Immunise Australia Program “Your guide to understanding childhood immunisation” .

For more information