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Pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination campaign is failing

Photo: Death no incentive for lung infection vax
Life-threatening consequences are not enough to make three quarters of Australian adults vaccinate against pneumococcal pneumonia, a survey reveals.

Potential death is not enough to make three quarters of Australian adults vaccinate against pneumococcal pneumonia, a survey reveals.

The research shows efforts to raise public awareness of the seriousness of the infection are failing, says Associate Professor Lucy Morgan of the Lung Foundation Australia.

"Even among high-risk groups, such as those aged over 65, there are no overwhelmingly high motivators for vaccination," she said.

Pneumococcal pneumonia is a severe lung infection responsible for a large proportion of pneumonia cases aged 65 and above.
An online survey of 1241 adults for the foundation found 75 per cent of adults cannot be motivated to protect against the infection, despite being informed of its seriousness and potentially fatal complications.

Of those, 73 per cent are considered high risk of contracting the infection because of their age or a pre-existing condition.

Infectious diseases paediatrician and immunisation expert Professor Robert Booy says there is a 93 per cent vaccine rate among Australian children.

"However, among equally vulnerable senior, we're failing to achieve even 50 per cent pneumococcal vaccine uptake, which could offer up to five more years of high-quality life," he said.

"Given grandchildren may pass pneumonia onto their grandparents, and vice-versa, protecting against pneumococcal infection would enrich their lives."

The Lung Foundation Australia is releasing its research on Tuesday to mark Know Pneumonia Day.

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