Evidence has finally emerged that the influenza vaccine is just as effective in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as it is for non-indigenous people.
A study from the Doherty Institute was published this week looked in-depth into the immune responses in 78 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and 84 non-indigenous people who took the vaccine.
Dr Luca Hensen said while it had always been recommended that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people be vaccinated for the flu, this was not actually based on scientific evidence.
That is, until now.
"We found robust antibody responses to influenza vaccination induced in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within four weeks after vaccination, together with strong activation profiles of key immune populations elicited as early as one week post immunisation," Dr Hensen said.
"We know from our research that Indigenous populations can be more susceptible to experiencing severe influenza disease, particularly when new viruses emerge.
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Australian Medical Association state president Helen McArdle said there was now confidence of a good immune response by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to the vaccine.
"In the past, it was assumed there was, but that was based on non-indigenous research,"
"Given that indigenous people are more likely to have significant illness with influenza, it's good to know that there is a good immune response and, therefore, the vaccine provides good protection."
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