It wasn’t long ago that polio was one of Australian parents’ biggest fears.
Both former Labor leader Kim Beazley and retired talk show host John Laws contracted polio as children. The late Kerry Packer was paralysed from polio and spent nine months in an iron lung. Full body casts were required of some other children in the attempt to stop their bones warping. One in twenty people hospitalised for polio died.
“These fears have been forgotten by many in the current vaccine debate being played out across Australia,” Maree Nutt, CEO of RESULTS Australia said.
“This week is World Immunisation Week, and it is encouraging that our government is focused on the issue of vaccines and taking important steps within Australia and overseas through our Australian aid, she continued.”
Over the last 9 years Australia has been part of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance which brings together the public and private sector with the shared goal of creating equal access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries.
Gavi has immunised nearly half a billion children against diseases like polio, whooping cough, tetanus, measles, meningitis, pneumonia and rotavirus diarrhoea, saving millions of lives.
“It is imperative that we see Julie Bishop’s $250 million commitment to Gavi’s $9.5 billion dollar five year plan reflected in the upcoming budget announcements. This plan will save the lives of a further six million of the poorest children in the world,” Maree said.
“We don’t have to fear polio or other vaccine preventable diseases in Australia today. It is time every parent around the world can do the same”, she continued.
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