News & Events

Media Release: 4-in-1 Combination Vaccine Improves National Vaccination Uptake

Aug 2017 - News

Nationwide on-time protection against measles and other diseases has increased by more than 13 per cent since the introduction of the 4-in-1 measles-mumps-rubella-varicella (MMRV) vaccine for toddlers in 2013, a recent study has revealed.

According to the study, which was carried out by the Paediatric Active Enhanced Disease Surveillance (PAEDS) in conjunction with The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS), the uptake of on-time measles-containing vaccinations has increased nationally by 13.5% over the last four years, when the MMRV vaccine was first introduced into the National Immunisation Program (NIP).

Prior to July 2013, MMRV vaccines were not used in Australia. Two doses of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccines were scheduled on the NIP at ages 12-months and 4 years, similar to the US and UK schedules. In an effort to increase the population-level vaccine coverage as well as protection for each individual child, the scheduled age for the second MMR dose was brought forward to 18 months (after the first dose of MMR at 12-months) and replaced with MMRV vaccine.

Deputy Director of Government Programs at the NCIRS and paediatric infectious disease consultant Associate Professor, Kristine Macartney says, “Since implementing the compressed immunisation schedule at ages 12 and 18 months, there has been a 13.5% nationwide improvement in coverage and on-time vaccinations against all four diseases. We have also demonstrated that more children were fully protected against measles at an earlier age.”

“From a family’s perspective, a 4-in-1 vaccine is much more convenient and helps with vaccine acceptance, coverage and ultimately, disease control. Moreover, use of MMRV vaccine as dose 2 of measles containing vaccine (MCV) at the age of 18 months is proven to be a safe way to prevent these diseases. In overseas studies, use of this as dose 1 gave rise to more fever and febrile seizures than had been seen before. However, we have proven that using it under the NIP as dose 2 doesn’t cause seizures,” she added.

Australia was one of the first 4 countries in the World Health Organisation Western Pacific Region to reach measles elimination status, officially declared in March 2014(1). Global efforts to control measles rely on achieving and maintaining high 2-dose vaccine coverage of more than 95% at a country and district level(2). Introducing this 4-in-1 combination vaccine at the younger age of 18 months should help us to maintain that elimination status.

Read the full article here

(1) Gidding HF, Martin NV, Stambos V, et al. Verification of measles elimination in Australia: application of World Health Organisation regional guidelines. J Epidemiol Glob Health. 2016;6(3):197-209
(2) Bester JC. Measles and measles vaccination: a review. JAMA Pediatr. 2016;170(12):1209-1215

Media contact: Sheri Locmayon
Public Relations Department
The Children's Hospital at Westmead
P: (02) 9845 3364

Influenza Vaccine Safety Surveillance Data Update

Jul 2017 - News

In 2017, four age-specific quadrivalent influenza vaccines are available under the National Immunisation Program (NIP). The current safety profile of the 2017 vaccines is reassuring and consistent with expectations. As at 30th July 2017 almost 70,000 people have participated in active influenza vaccine safety surveillance via SMS/email representing a 72% participation rate. Real-time, patient reported data on the safety of Zoster vaccine and Pertussis booster vaccines in children is also available.

View the current AusVaxSafety surveillance data

July 2017 - Newsletter

Jul 2017 - Newsletters

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HNECCPHN, HNELHD, CCLHD Immunisation Conference

Jul 2017 - News

On July 22nd 600 nurses and General practitioners attended the Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network (HNECCPHN), Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD), ​Central Coast Local Health District (CCLHD) Immunisation Conference. A/Prof Nick Wood, A/Prof Kristine Macartney and Ms Karen Orr attended the conference providing expert presentations on a range on Immunisation topics including current recommendations, vaccine safety and the NSW Immunisation Specialist Service (NSWISS)

Congratulations to A/Prof Nicholas Wood - Senior Clinical Research Fellow, NCIRS & the USYD Discipline of Child & Adolescent Health’s Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Team

Jul 2017 - News

Congratulations to the Discipline of Child & Adolescent Health’s Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Team which has won the 2017 Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in the category of Outstanding Research Higher Degree Supervision.

The HDR Team was recognised for having achieved excellence in all facets of HDR supervision, including student support / pastoral care, HDR research education / training, and ensuring the supervisors are well informed and supported.

The HDR Team:  A/Prof Nick Wood, Postgraduate Co-ordinator, and Deputy PGCs A/Prof Fabienne Brilot-Turville, Prof Ben Marais, Dr Andrew Biggin and Prof Rachel Skinner, with admin support from Denise Yuille.

NCIRS at the Communicable Diseases Conference

Jun 2017 - News

The Communicable Diseases Control (CDC) Conference 2017, convened by the Communicable Diseases Network Australia, the Public Health Laboratory Network and the Public Health Association of Australia, was held in Melbourne from Monday 26 to Wednesday 28 June 2017. A/Prof Kristine Macartney, Deputy Director, NCIRS was an opening keynote speaker and presented on 'What we have learned from 10 years of PAEDS'. NCIRS staff also presented work in the areas of epidemiology, program evaluation, serosurveillance and vaccine safety. Highlights from the conference can found on Twitter. View NCIRS presentation highlights on the NCIRS Twitter page.  Select presentations are available on the CDC conference webpage.

PAEDS 10 Year Anniversary Showcase

Jun 2017 - News

PAEDS Investigation Nurses at the 10 Year Anniversary Showcase

In June 2017 Paediatric Active Enhanced Disease Surveillance (PAEDS) investigators, nurses and key stakeholders came together in Melbourne to discuss and present their work of 10 years in an anniversary showcase. PAEDS, originally founded through a collaboration between the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit (APSU) and NCIRS has grown to surveillance at 7 sites across Australia, focusing on vaccine preventable diseases and serious childhood conditions of public health importance: Acute Flaccid Paralysis, intussusception, pertussis, varicella, febrile seizures, encephalitis, influenza and most recently meningococcal disease and group A streptococcal disease. Progress and outcomes from research into these conditions was presented at the showcase. PAEDS also celebrated Dr Philip Britton’s PhD award for investigation of acute childhood encephalitis, as well as a recently achieved NHMRC partnership grant that will support additional research into understanding why children become unwell with influenza and pertussis. Congratulations to PAEDS on 10 years and many wonderful achievements yet to come.

More information »

Prof Peter McIntyre at the WHO Technical Expert Consultation on Optimization of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV)

Jun 2017 - News

On the 12-13 June 2017 Prof Peter McIntyre attended the WHO Technical Expert Consultation on Optimization of Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) Impact held in Geneva, Switzerland at the WHO Headquarters



Immunisation: it’s not just for kids

Jun 2017 - Medicine Today; 18(6): 25-33 - News

In this article by Dr Lucy Deng, Ryan Macdougall, A/Prof. Kristine Macartney published in Medicine Today June 2017; 18(6): 25-33 the authors focus on the important, and sometimes overlooked, area of adult vaccination.


In an ageing population with a high burden of vaccine-preventable diseases, vaccines are equally as important in adults as they are in children. Although there are many potential barriers to adult vaccination, these can be addressed, and every healthcare provider should routinely review the immunisation status of their adult patients as part of health promotion.

Key Points
  • Adults may require vaccines for multiple reasons, including incomplete childhood schedules, waning immunity, medical and lifestyle risk factors, occupation-related risks, travel and migration.
  • The majority of undervaccinated people in Australia (those who are eligible for vaccines under the National Immunisation Program but do not receive them) are adults.
  • Vaccines are one of the key components to healthy ageing, given the high burden of vaccine-preventable diseases in the older population.
  • More vaccines are becoming available and are recommended for the adult population, including zoster vaccine for adults aged 70 to 79 years.
  • Barriers to the delivery of adult vaccinations include cost, lack of documentation of doses previously received and public misconceptions about the need for vaccination in adulthood.
  • The ‘HALO’ (Health, Age, Lifestyle, Occupation) principle can be applied when assessing vaccine requirements for adults.
  • The Australian Immunisation Register, introduced in 2016, aims to capture all immunisations across the lifespan of a person.

Click here to access the full article

Building Trust, Managing Risk: Vaccine Confidence and Human Papillomavirus Vaccination meeting at The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Jun 2017 - News

7-8 June 2017 - Building Trust, Managing Risk: Vaccine Confidence and Human Papillomavirus Vaccination - The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

The Vaccine Confidence Project and the HPV Prevention and Control Board hosted the Building Trust, Managing Risk: Vaccine Confidence and Human Papillomavirus Vaccination meeting at The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine on7-8 June 2017. Sessions covered topics related to: The state of HPV vaccination in the world, HPV vaccination: real and perceived safety issues, Culture, religion and morality around HPV vaccination, Immunization anxiety reactions and the HPV vaccine, Engaging and communicating with different audiences, and Strategies to monitor, build and maintain confidence. A/Prof Kristine Macartney, Deputy Director, NCIRS was invited to the meeting to present on vaccine confidence and human papillomavirus vaccination in Australia.  Materials from the meeting, including videos, slides from the presentations and summarising illustrations are available at the meeting website.

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