The tragic news of another meningococcal disease death in the Hunter New England region in recent days has prompted a timely reminder to be sure that we have taken precautions against the deadly illness.
The elderly woman's death was the second caused by meningococcal disease in the Hunter New England Health area this month, following the death of a toddler.
The latest case was the fifth confirmed instance of the disease in this region so far in 2019.
Hunter New England Health made no suggestion on the weekend that the woman who became meningococcal's latest victim was not vaccinated.
But the case prompted a reminder from the health body of the importance of vaccination, labelling it "the best means of protection against meningococcal disease".
It is no secret there has been a vocal movement against vaccinations across the globe in recent years, despite the overwhelming weight of evidence strongly supporting immunisation - which is what happens to the body after it has been vaccinated.
The World Health Organisation, the global authority on medicine and health, says it is a "proven tool for controlling and eliminating life-threatening infectious diseases".
WHO estimates immunisation prevents between two million and three million deaths across the world each year.
"It is one of the most cost-effective health investments, with proven strategies that make it accessible to even the most hard-to-reach and vulnerable populations," WHO says.
In Australia, vaccinations for four of the 13 types of meningococcal disease - A, C, W and Y - are available as part of a national program for children aged one to teenagers in Year 10 at school.
Though it is important to note that the vaccinations do not immunise against all strains of the disease, so it is crucial for people to be wary of symptoms and seek medical advice if there is any doubt.
Thankfully, as Hunter New England Health pointed out on the weekend, the latest Annual Immunisation Report found that vaccination rates in NSW are at an all-time high - with data showing that 95 per cent of five-year-olds are fully vaccinated. It makes sense that we should each do whatever we can to avoid such a devastating disease.