Mon, 11/05/2018 | News

Rubella elimination confirmed for Australia by World Health Organization (WHO)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has this week verified that Australia has eliminated rubella.  
A media statement by The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health, has said that ‘the elimination of rubella is a great day for public health in Australia and sends a powerful message that vaccinations work’ and is ‘testimony to the success of our National Immunisation Program’.

We should not become complacent though, say NCIRS experts Professor Kristine Macartney, Associate Professor Heather Gidding and Dr Aditi Dey in their article published in The Conversation.  They stress ‘it is important that we maintain high coverage with our routine vaccination programs to ensure elimination is sustained, as rubella is still likely to be imported from other countries’. They also say that ‘travellers should have had two MMR vaccinations before going overseas, and every effort must be made to ensure new arrivals in Australia are up to date with their vaccinations, especially women of child-bearing age’. Finally they note that ‘to eradicate rubella globally we need to support other countries in our region, and globally, to strengthen their control efforts’.

WHO has also confirmed that Australia has maintained its measles elimination status, which was verified in 2014.