New NPS Direct article reveals that vaccinations fight against antibiotic resistance

During Antibiotic Awareness Week (18-24 November) NPS MedicineWise is urging health professionals to use vaccinations as one important way to limit Australia’s use of antibiotics.

Doctors, pharmacists and nurses are being asked to encourage their patients to keep up with the vaccinations recommended in the National Immunisation Program (NIP) schedule, as immunisation can help reduce the rates of vaccine-preventable diseases that may have required antibiotics to treat them or their complications.

A new NPS Direct article published this week explains that along with the judicious use of antibiotics, vaccinations are an integral component in the fight against antibiotic resistance.

When vaccination rates are high, the incidence of certain bacterial infections in the community is reduced as is the need for antibiotics.

  • During flu season, it is recommended that people at risk of complications such as pneumonia receive the influenza vaccine – these include people aged over 65, pregnant women, and people with medical conditions like chronic lung disease or heart disease.
  • Health professionals working in aged care, long-term care and child care facilities are also encouraged receive the flu vaccine to prevent transmission to these at-risk groups, reducing the risk of associated complications requiring treatment with antibiotics.
  • Antibiotic resistant pneumococci is a current challenge in Australia, but following the introduction of widespread pneumococcal vaccination in Australian children, incidence of the disease has declined sharply. Current guidelines now recommend use of a 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (13vPCV) for children at two, four and six months of age, with an extra dose at 12 months for at-risk groups, while the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (23vPPV) is recommended for adults and children aged 4 years and over who are considered to be medically at risk, to prevent invasive pneumococcal disease and pneumonia.

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