New guide answers common immunisation questions

To help counter misinformation and uncertainty surrounding vaccines for Covid-19 and other diseases, the Australian Academy of Science has launched a new guide about the science of immunisation.

Developed with the support of the Australian Government Department of Health, the guide answers common immunisation questions, including:

  • What is immunisation?
  • What is a vaccine?
  • Who benefits from vaccines?
  • Are vaccines safe?
  • What does the future hold for vaccination?

“The continuing spread of misinformation about vaccines is making it difficult to understand whether a claim is based on credible scientific evidence,” says Academy President, Professor John Shine, adding that despite the benefits of immunisation and vaccine development being well established after decades of scientific research, it can be challenging to understand how immunisation works or where to find trusted and independent information.

“Herd immunity, adverse events, efficacy: these are just some of the vaccine-related terms people are hearing regularly in the media that they may not understand as we manage the Covid-19 pandemic or in relation to vaccines that protect us from other diseases.

“This booklet explains these terms and provides up-to-date information about the science of immunisation in clear and easy-to-understand language with the aim of giving confidence to individuals to make informed health decisions based on science,” he says.

The guide was reportedly prepared by an expert working group comprising leading medical practitioners and researchers, including Australian Academy of Science Fellow Professor Carola Vinuesa, who says that that guide is designed to build trust and understanding among the public.

“The act of vaccination saves lives and can limit and prevent infectious diseases around the world, which still account for around 40% of all recorded deaths globally,” she says.

The guide is available fully online as web content, as a downloadable PDF, and in print, and there are short easy-to-understand videos to watch and share.

To access the guide, visit: science.org.au/education/immunisation-climate-change-genetic-modification/science-immunisation

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