On March 19, 2017, The Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne launched a publication designed to help Australians lead long, healthy and productive lives.

Entitled ‘The Baker IDI Wellness Plan’, the publication includes a healthy action plan, healthy recipes and meal plans, tips for developing healthy habits, and a checklist of medical test recommendations for each decade of life.

Pivotal to healthy ageing, and as a preventative health measure, the Baker IDI recommends age-related vaccines for individuals representing each decade.

Importantly, vaccinations serve to ensure that fewer deaths and hospitalisations occur from preventable diseases, including influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia. Notably, more than 3,000 Australians die each year from influenza, and 18,000 are hospitalised.

It is particularly important for older Australians to keep up to date with recommended age-related vaccines.

Due to declining cellular immunity, older individuals are not only at higher risk of contracting infections than the rest of the population, but when they do contract these illnesses, they can be more debilitating, and life-threatening.

Over the age of 65, the Baker IDI Wellness Plan recommends annual influenza vaccination, pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination, and a single shingles vaccination at 70 years of age. They also suggest the whooping cough vaccine for new or soon-to-be grandparents.

The inclusion of vaccine recommendations in the Baker IDI Wellness Plan should help to improve poor adult age-related vaccination rates. According to research launched by UNSW VIRL on March 27, 2017, only 51 per cent of Australian adults are receiving their Government-funded vaccinations each year.

To learn more about the Baker IDI Wellness Plan, visit https://www.baker.edu.au/health-hub/books/baker-wellness-plan

For more information about Australia’s Immunisation Program, head to http://www.immunise.health.gov.au/