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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

A Small Prick For Mankind

Dr. Vincent Wan


If you could protect yourself and your family, you would jump at it wouldn’t you?  Anyone in their right mind would immediately answer yes to this question.  However, this is the very question that is asked when it comes to immunisation for preventable diseases and I’m afraid the statistics show that many of us are not only not jumping to do so, but have not considered it at all.

I am not talking about the compulsory childhood vaccinations that start from birth.  I am talking about adults and the elective vaccinations that are available for a range of preventable diseases.  Because these immunisations are not mandatory they are often forgotten.  As a healthcare professional, this topic is close to heart as I am in an industry that is more at risk of coming into contact with transmittable diseases.

Take Hepatitis B for example.  Hepatitis B is an extremely serious liver condition which can be fatal.  Contracting the Hepatitis B virus will damage your liver with the long term consequences of cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure without appropriate diagnosis and management.  Hepatitis B is entirely preventable by vaccination so why wouldn’t you want to be vaccinated for it?

For those working in the dental profession, it is recommended that we are immunised for not only Hepatitis B but also measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, whooping cough, and even the common annual flu.  We deal with bodily fluids such as saliva and blood that may contain infectious diseases on a daily basis and simple vaccination protects ourselves and our family from these diseases.

Limiting the transfer of transmittable diseases is an important issue that each one of us, not only those in higher risk industries, should seriously consider.  Immunisation is a simple yet key component of this.