Immunisation is one of the most successful and cost-effective public health interventions. Thanks to modern vaccines crippling childhood diseases have been brought under control and some like smallpox have been eradicated saving the lives of millions. Immunisation is also a key strategy to ensure global health security and to respond to the threat of emerging infections. Despite the success of immunisation, parents sometimes fail to have their children fully vaccinated due to misinformation and unfounded rumours about possible adverse events. Failure to protect children through vaccination far outweighs any likelihood of adverse events following immunisation.
Nurses have possibly the most important role to play of any health care professional in the immunisation process. As the largest professional group that has presence in all health settings, nurses are most likely to advise and inform parents on vaccination, as well as actually administer vaccines. Nurses are also well placed to act as role models to achieve national goals and targets for immunisation coverage. ICN’s publication Adult and Childhood Immunisation provides up-to-date information to nurses and other health professionals. In addition, ICN has a fact sheet on Immunisations for health care workers: influenza and hepatits B which explores the issues associated with the immunisation of health care workers against these two important vaccine-preventable diseases.