News & Events

Registrations are now open for the next NCIRS Seminar on Monday 12 March 2018

Feb 2018 - Events

NCIRS Seminar Series 2018 #1  - Monday 12 March 2018
Influenza prevention and control: We can do better

This first NCIRS seminar for 2018 will focus on influenza vaccines.

Time: Monday 12 March 2018, 1.00 pm – 2.00 pm 
Location: Kids Research Institute Seminar Room, 178 Hawkesbury Road, Westmead, NSW 
Note: This is a new location for 2018 seminars
Light refreshments will be provided after the seminar
Remote access via Zoom meeting now available (link below)

Australia has just experienced the worst-recorded influenza epidemic in recent memory.
In 1943, a clinical trial of the University of Michigan showed that the inactivated influenza vaccine was approximately 70% effective and protection was correlated with HAI antibodies. Since then, vaccine effectiveness has varied from year to year. 

As we approach the 2018 flu season, Professor Arnold Monto will discuss how current, more sober, observations of vaccine effectiveness have helped us in understanding the ways our current vaccines might be improved. Professor Robert Booy will present on risk factors, key outcomes and local control efforts.

More information »

Publication - Vaccine-preventable child deaths in New South Wales from 2005 to 2014: How much is preventable?

Jan 2018 - News

A study has found there is scope to reduce child deaths, particularly from influenza, meningococcal B and pertussis. Maternal vaccination along with increased uptake of vaccination in children (with and without underlying medical conditions), particularly for influenza, could reduce residual child deaths. 

The study, conducted by the NCIRS and published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health to identify and describe potentially vaccine-preventable child deaths in New South Wales (NSW), found 23 deaths still occurred between 2005 and 2014 that could have been prevented by vaccines that were available at the time, with influenza (12 deaths) and meningococcal disease (5 deaths) most common.

 Read the full article here

October - December 2017- Newsletter

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AusVaxSafety exceeds 200 SmartVax sites nationwide

Dec 2017 - News

AusVaxSafety active vaccine safety surveillance data are provided by SmartVax, Vaxtracker and STARSS. No safety signals have been identified through active surveillance to date. AusVaxSafety active surveillance data continue to be updated regularly on the website.

Influenza: From 1 April 2017 to 3 September 2017, 102,663 individuals aged 6 months and older were enrolled for influenza vaccine surveillance. With an over 70% response rate, 73,560 participants consistently replied that any events after vaccination were generally mild and within expected ranges.

Zoster: As of 3 December 2017, a total of 10,739 persons aged 70–79 years have participated in zoster surveillance since 1 November 2016, yielding a response rate of 68%.

Pertussis: As of 10 December 2017, 29,592 children aged 12 months–<7 years have participated in pertussis surveillance since 14 March 2016, yielding a response rate of 72.4%.

As of 4 December 2017, there are 201 SmartVax sites nationwide. A live map can now be accessed on the SmartVax website.

PHN Immunisation Support Program

Dec 2017 - News

NCIRS has partnered with NPS MedicineWise to develop a national Primary Health Network (PHN) immunisation support program on behalf of the Commonwealth Department of Health.  The program will help PHNs to co-ordinate services and better assist immunisation providers to implement the National Immunisation Program (NIP).

The first phase of the program has now been completed and included the completion of a formative research report to understand the current landscape and explore the challenges and opportunities associated with establishing a support program. This involved literature reviews, environmental scanning, as well as teleconferences and workshops. It involved 84 stakeholder members, including jurisdictional immunisation co-ordinators (JICs) and representatives from PHNs and Public Health Units (PHUs).

Three stakeholder workshops, held in Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney followed by a co-design workshop in Sydney identified the specific elements of the program which will include:

  1. Development of a digital platform that provides access for PHNs across Australia to high quality resources, education, news and updates, network directories, and that enables PHNs to connect and share ideas.
  2. Facilitation of networking opportunities, such as teleconferences and face-to-face events.
  3. Development of resources and education where significant gaps are identified.
  4. Central co-ordination of all program activities.

 “The entire day was fantastic.  I am confident the program will deliver great outcomes”

“Very welcoming and great presentations.  Good networking with other PHN workers”

“Thank you – can’t wait for the next step”

“Great workshop, well planned and implemented”

“What worked well was the networking opportunities between PHNs and PHUs”

There was positive feedback from the workshops which highlighted the benefit of bringing together stakeholders from different regions to share ideas and assist in networking.  Attendees reported: 

The design of the digital platform is underway with a launch of Phase 1 anticipated at the end of March 2018.   Other elements of the program will be developed over the coming months which will include opportunities for networking and education. 

We are excited to be part of this initiative and look forward to supporting PHNs and other stakeholders in the future.




AEFI-CAN launches new national clinical database

Dec 2017 - News

The Adverse Event Following Immunisation-Clinical Assessment Network (AEFI-CAN) is excited to announce the launch of its national clinical database:

AEFI-CAN is a formal collaboration between state- and territory-based specialist immunisation clinics, and includes representatives from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), with funding provided by the Department Health via AusVaxSafety, coordinated by the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS).

This database is part of national vaccine safety collaboration, led by SAEFVIC (at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute), with development and IT support from ChordWizard Systems (Stephen Clarke).

The database has both an AEFI reporting and a clinical follow-up arm, and is designed to help capture uniform data throughout Australia.

As a national network, AEFI-CAN works collaboratively to clinically assess and manage individual patients following serious or unexpected AEFI. AEFI-CAN provides the important link between surveillance and clinical assessment and management. As such, AEFI-CAN can assist in determining patient outcomes and support investigation of possible safety signals in a real-time integrated way.

The database is currently being used in Victoria, with work underway to provide opportunities for all state and territory specialist vaccine safety clinics to adopt the database.

Publication - Active SMS-based influenza vaccine safety surveillance in Australian Children

Nov 2017 - News

Australia’s novel, active surveillance system, AusVaxSafety, monitors the post-market safety of vaccines in near real time. This paper analysed cumulative surveillance data for children aged 6 months to 4 years who received seasonal influenza vaccine in 2015 and/or 2016 to determine: adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) rates by vaccine brand, age and concomitant vaccine administration.

7402 children were included in the analysis and no safety signals or excess of adverse events were detected.

Access the publication abstract

NCIRS publications in the Medical Journal of Australia

Nov 2017 - News

MJA coverThe November 6 issue of the Medical Journal of Australia featured four publications by the NCIRS team and collaborators, covering a broad range of topics such as meningococcal B disease, zoster, pneumonia and vaccine refusal.

These publications included:

MEDIA RELEASE - New AusVaxSafety data reinforces vaccination safety

Oct 2017 - News

Innovative new AusVaxSafety data confirms the 2017 influenza vaccines to  be safe. No vaccine safety concerns were identified in approximately 74,000 adults and children vaccinated since April this year.

In the past five months over 102,000 people who have received the influenza vaccine across Australia have been sent a follow-up survey 3 days after vaccination to monitor vaccine reaction rates in real-time. With over 70% response rates, consumers have consistently replied that any effects after vaccination were generally mild and within expected ranges. This data, largely provided by SmartVax SMS surveys, reinforces the safety of the currently approved influenza vaccines. Only 6.6% had any potential reaction and an even smaller 0.4% sought attention from a healthcare provider in the days after vaccination.

Deputy Director of the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) and paediatric infectious disease consultant Associate Professor, Kristine Macartney says, “We know the importance of vaccination and since implementing this program as an Australian first, we’ve received ongoing positive results that confirm and assure the safety of vaccines.”

“The AusVaxSafety results showcase how Australia takes a lead in feeding back information to the rest of the world in regard to influenza vaccination safety. Countries now entering winter in the Northern Hemisphere will be particularly interested in these results as they are starting to use 2017/18 vaccines containing the same strains shown to be safe in Australia,” she said.

AusVaxSafety is a national active vaccine safety surveillance system that monitors vaccine safety across more than 200 ‘sentinel’ sites. These include general practices (GPs), Aboriginal medical services, immunisation clinics and hospital clinics. Led by the NCIRS, this world-leading system actively monitors the safety of a number of vaccines and aims to increase public confidence in immunisation.

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