Most of us think of diphtheria as a disease from antiquity that has long since disappeared. Whilst that’s true in many countries that’s to the DTaP vaccine which also protects against tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough), there is an ongoing outbreak in Yemen which has killed thousands. It can cause a thick covering of mucous at the in the back of the nose and throat that makes it hard to breathe or swallow and can cause a patient to suffocate to death if they cannot be put on life support. Tragically, in 2018, a unvaccinated man from Queensland fell ill with the disease after contracting it from a person who has travelled overseas and died.
In Australia we are fortunate that our health system is strong and our Government can invest in these critical vaccines, but for those living in countries where not all children can access vaccines UNICEF is there. Each year we vaccinate half the world’s children and protect them from preventable diseases, no matter where they live or what passport they hold. We won’t stop until every child is safe from life-threatening diseases.
Check out our vaccine information centre for the latest news and stories as we plan to vaccinate the world against COVID-19.