Risk to resilience: a roadmap to vaccine access for older Australians

We have an opportunity to give the Australian health system the shot in the arm it needs, by increasing access to innovative vaccines, particularly for older Australians.

Risk to Resilience: a roadmap to vaccine access for older Australians

Immunisation saves lives; it helps people of all ages live longer and healthier. Vaccination is recognised as one of the most cost-effective public health interventions. Yet Australia is under-investing in adult vaccination, with the negative impacts clustered in our most disadvantaged communities.

‘Risk to Resilience: a roadmap to vaccine access for older Australians explores the potential to strengthen Australia's NIP to benefit more people. It quantifies the benefits of a National Immunisation Program (NIP) that draws on its previous success by expanding its focus to include providing the latest advances in vaccines for older Australians. 

GSK commissioned Clarivate Life Sciences and Health Care to conduct a detailed analysis, mapping federal electorate divisions by four factors that may make people more vulnerable to preventable disease and subsequent poorer health outcomes: age, income, education and comorbidities. These factors exacerbate barriers to accessing healthcare and technology due to affordability, accessibility and health literacy.

The postcode you live in shouldn't be a predictor of your health. By addressing the underlying barriers to immunisation we can build a stronger, healthier and more resilient Australia for all.

Professor Robert Booy

Professor of Paediatrics and Child health, University of Sydney

In early June 2022, Penny developed a rash she thought was a symptom of another illness. A few days later Penny began to feel tremendous pain and terrible lethargy. She went to a medical centre. It was then that she was diagnosed with shingles by a doctor and treated with a course of
antiviral medication. The tiredness and ongoing nerve pain made working impossible for several weeks. Exposure to sunlight or heat caused excruciating pain. Even now, Penny has some pain, itchiness and ongoing tiredness.

"The impact of shingles has been significant for me. I still have neuralgia pain and have been left with scarring from the rash," says Penny. 

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In 2011, Tim had been interstate for work. On returning home, Tim began coughing frequently and found it difficult to stand up. Tim was unsure what was happening, so he made an appointment with his doctor. Tests confirmed Tim had whooping cough, with the doctor warning him of the risks of infecting his family, friends, co-workers – basically, anyone Tim had contact with – with the disease. Tim was one of many Australians who have
been vaccinated against whooping cough as a child, but as he was 41 years old when he tested positive, the vaccine no longer protected him.

"I basically had a constant cough and headache for three months. I felt like time seemed to just go on forever and it was a horrible experience, I thought I’d never get over it," says Tim.

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