NCIRS was established by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing in August 1997 as part of the development of the Immunise Australia program and its ‘Seven Point Plan’. Since then, NCIRS has expanded considerably in both staff numbers and research activity and has gained significant national and international recognition.
The years since 1997 have seen the greatest ever expansion of Australia’s national immunisation program (NIP). Australia’s NIP is now one of the most comprehensive in the world, in terms of both the number of vaccines and age groups included and the immunisation coverage achieved. This large investment in disease prevention necessitates high quality information on the use and impact of public funds.
The roles and responsibilities of NCIRS have evolved to meet this need as new initiatives to deliver vaccines and monitor vaccine coverage, vaccine safety and the incidence of vaccine preventable diseases have been introduced.
Future priorities of the NIP will be guided by the National Immunisation Strategy (NIS) 2013–2018. NCIRS will continue to make key contributions to strategic priorities identified in the NIS, especially in the areas of immunisation coverage, vaccine safety monitoring, development of effective communication about immunisation, and strengthening monitoring and evaluation of the NIP. NCIRS also contributes to training and education of health professionals, and contributes to regional and global initiatives in immunisation.