health

A vaccination expert says ALL children should be immunised against the flu.

“Do the right thing, and vaccinate your children.”

Those are the blunt words of British vaccination expert Professor David Salisbury, who believes all children should be immunised against influenza for the good of the wider community.

Professor Salisbury, who was Director of Immunisation at the Department of Health in London until 2014 and who works closely with the World Health Organisation, visited Australia this week to meet with senior Department of Health officials and to speak at the Australian Influenza Symposium.

vaccination expert
Children are the “greatest spreaders of the flu”. Image via iStock.

He also led an initiative to have all UK children vaccinated through the National Immunisation Program.

It has had impressive results so far, and believes a similar program should be introduced in Australia.

He said that children were the “greatest spreaders of the flu” and that immunizing all children was the best and most efficient way of protecting the entire community from the infection.

It can be especially deadly for certain 'at risk' groups, including the elderly, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems.

Despite increased media attention surrounding the anti-vax movement, Professor Salisbury said he didn’t believe it was necessarily gaining momentum.

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“Do the right thing, and vaccinate your children." Image via iStock.

But he had a strong message for parents about the importance of immunisation.

“Do the right thing, and vaccinate your children. Do it for them, and do it for your community,” he said.

“The best thing you can do is to protect your children, and the best way to protect your children against infectious diseases is to vaccinate them - on time.

Vaccine safety records are long established and you should be confident to use the vaccines available to you. People just don’t take the flu seriously – and they should.”

Vaccination expert, Professor David Salisbury. Image supplied.

Professor Salisbury’s visit follows Australia’s worst flu season on record this year.

On average, the flu in Australia causes 3,000 deaths, 18,000 hospitalisations and 300,000 GP consultations per year.

Just 42 per cent of “at risk” people are immunised each year and in 2015, children under 15 accounted for one-third of all flu cases.

Do you agree that all kids should be vaccinated against the flu?