“It is now generally accepted that no other measure taken by humans, apart from the provision of clean water, has ever saved more lives than immunisation against infectious diseases. Vaccines are among the safest and most successful public health tools available for preventing infectious diseases and their complications.” Dr George Kassianos [1].

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) the proportion of Australian children who are fully immunised continues to increase, but significant variation remains across local communities [2]. The importance to maintain the high immunisation rates is paramount to protect the community especially vulnerable members such as young babies and the immunocompromised who are often unable to have certain vaccinations.

An example of this is the recent outbreaks of measles internationally and nationally. According to the World Health Organisation over 41 000 children and adults in the WHO European Region have been infected with measles in the first 6 months of 2018 [3]. Parts of USA are currently experiencing outbreaks. Australia was declared free of measles in 2014. Yet this summer we’ve seen nine cases of measles in New South Wales, and others in Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland.

The Nurse Practitioner role is working well within Angaston Medical Centre. The GPs and nurses are receptive to my scope of practice and often use me as a resource for information in regard to travel and routine immunisations. This was especially highlighted with the introduction of the Meningococcal B Immunisation Program in South Australia last year.

by Catherine Keil

Nurse Practitioner Travel Health and Immunisations, Angaston Medical Centre

About Catherine Keil

I have been working in the field of immunisations for over 18 years. My background started in emergency nursing working alongside Nurse Practitioners in the UK. From there I became a practice nurse in London where I became involved in travel health and immunisations. My career then took me to Dubai for 10 years where I worked for Emirates Airline involved in setting up their travel health clinic for crew and families. In 2013 I moved with my family to the Barossa, South Australia. I completed my Masters in Nursing (Nurse Practitioner) in 2017 and became an endorsed Nurse Practitioner in early 2018. Since then I have started my own business Travel Health Practitioner Pty Ltd working as a contractor running a travel health and immunisation clinic. I am on the steering committee of the Nurse Professional Group for the International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM) and write regular travel health articles for the Barossa Herald. I am a passionate advocate of the role of Nurse Practitioner. | LinkedIn

[1] Kassianos G 2001. Immunization: Childhood and Travel Health. 4th Edition. Blackwell Science.

[2] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)

[3] World Health Organisation (WHO)