2016 Influenza Vaccine Early Report: good safety profile in children
May 2016 - News
For fortnightly updates on influenza surveillance please see the AusVaxSafety webpage
With winter coming soon, it’s time to remind parents and patients to be vaccinated against influenza now. Influenza is a viral respiratory illness that is responsible for thousands of children and adults of all ages each year being admitted to hospital in Australia.
Active vaccine safety surveillance is conducted nationally in young children to monitor for the type and rate of reactions to each year’s new influenza vaccine. This program is called AusVaxSafety*. As of mid-May 2016, the families of more than 1200 children aged 6 months to 5 years from more than 100 ‘sentinel’ locations across Australia have responded to SMS or email messages to give us feedback on how their child felt days after vaccination.
This is the first year that the new quadrivalent vaccines (containing 2 influenza A and 2 influenza B strains) are being provided under the National Immunisation Program.
Results of this surveillance indicate that the safety profile of the 2016 influenza vaccines in children is excellent and the type and rate of vaccine reactions is within usual limits. Only 9% of participants have reported any reaction. Reactions recorded have been mild and resolved within 1-2 days. The most commonly reported symptoms include tiredness, irritability, and pain, swelling or redness at the injection site. A fever was reported in less than 3% of children. A small proportion of children (1%) have sought medical attention for symptoms following immunisation, and these have generally not been directly related to vaccination.
No vaccine-attributable serious adverse events have been recorded for the patients in this program. It is also important to note that safety demonstrated in children provides assurance that the vaccine is safe among all age groups.
All Australians can benefit from receiving influenza vaccine. Across Australia, health departments, clinicians and other researchers are conducting ongoing surveillance activities to monitor vaccine uptake, safety and effectiveness, and influenza activity. The success of AusVaxSafety surveillance is due to the active engagement of the public whose participation allows for real-time feedback on the safety of each year’s influenza vaccine.
* AusVaxSafety surveillance is a collaborative initiative led by NCIRS and involves vaccine safety experts, state and territory public health systems, general practitioners and children’s hospitals across Australia. It is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health. AusVaxSafety partners with and makes use of several computer-based surveillance systems, Vaxtracker, SmartVax, and STARSS, which send SMSs or web-based surveys to parents and carers seeking information on how their child felt after receiving the influenza vaccine. Results from 2015 AusVaxSafety influenza surveillance are available here.More information »
REGISTER NOW - Vaccines in Public Health Workshop 2016
May 2016 - News
Registrations are open for the upcoming Vaccines in Public Health Workshop to be held on 31 August and 1 September 2016.
For flyer Click here
This course is an elective within the Master of Public Health and Master of International Public Health programs at The University of Sydney. The course is available yearly to any health professional interested in vaccines and public health. Prior training or experience in epidemiology and/or biostatistics is recommended but not essential. Included in the course are interactive lectures, small group case studies on epidemiology, program implementation, Indigenous health, adverse events and public controversies presented by some of Australia’s leading researchers in immunisation.
Cost: $500 for 1 day - $1000 for 2 days (incl GST)
Online registration is now open - click here to register
For administrative enquiries please contact Karyn Phillips via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information on content of the workshop please contact Dr Aditi Dey via email at email@example.com.
NCIRS Influenza Fact Sheet Updated
Apr 2016 - News
The NCIRS Fact Sheet on Influenza has been updated to include the latest epidemiological data on Influenza vaccines for Australians in anticipation of this year's flu season.More information »
Updated NCIRS Fact Sheet, FAQ and Position Statement on HPV Vaccination
Apr 2016 - News
The NCIRS Fact Sheet on HPV vaccination has been updated. The HPV Fact Sheet is also accompanied by a NCIRS Position Statement on HPV vaccination as well as a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document on the Quadrivalent Vaccine. Each of these documents is designed to include the most recent data available on HPV epidemiology as well as to address recently raised concerns about the HPV vaccine.More information »
New study shows efficiency of the PAEDS Network
Mar 2016 - News
The Paediatric Active Enhanced Disease Surveillance (PAEDS) Network is an NCIRS initiative which conducts surveillance of serious childhood conditions, including vaccine-preventable diseases and markers for infectious diseases such as acute childhood encephalitis (inflammation and swelling of the brain). The effectiveness of the program has been acknowledged anecdotally, but has not been validated empirically — until now. A new study published in the journal Epidemiology and Infection has provided data and analysis demonstrating that PAEDS is an “efficient, sensitive and accurate surveillance mechanism for detecting cases of childhood encephalitis—including those associated with emerging infectious diseases”.
The study piloted active surveillance for suspected encephalitis from May to December 2013 at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, NSW. For the study, suspected encephalitis in children was identified using a variety of methods: the PAEDS method (consisting of nurses actively screening children’s admission records); monitoring of cerebrospinal fluid microscopy records; magnetic resonance imaging reports; and pharmacy dispensing records. Out of the four methods, the PAEDS method was the most efficient and accurate mechanism for detecting suspected encephalitis.
The study’s authors concluded that active surveillance significantly increased the ascertainment of encephalitis cases compared to passive approaches in monitoring. The study is titled Pilot surveillance for childhood encephalitis in Australia using the Paediatric Active Enhanced Disease Surveillance (PAEDS) network and is authored by PN Britton, RC Dale, E Elliott, M Festa, K Macartney, R Booy and CA Jones.
NCIRS Polio Fact Sheet Updated
Feb 2016 - News
The NCIRS fact sheet on polio has been updated to include current data on polio epidemiology and to align with recommendations in The Australian Immunisation Handbook on the use of IPV-containing vaccines.More information »
NCIRS's Gulam Khandaker selected for the Centre for Research Excellence - Cerebral Palsy Leaders Program 2016
Jan 2016 - News
NCIRS's Dr Gulam Khandaker has been selected for the Centre for Research Excellence - Cerebral Palsy Leaders Program, 2016. Twelve early career researchers from around Australia have been selected for a 1-year leadership/mentoring program. Congratulations go to Dr Khandaker for winning the award. (Dr Khandaker is pictured here at a free wheelchair distribution camp in a rural village in Bangladesh. Free wheelchairs are donated by Wheelchairs for Kids (WFK), an Australian philanthropic organisation.)
NCIRS A/Prof Nick Wood interviewed by ABC News
Jan 2016 - News
Associate Professor Nick Wood of NCIRS has commented on a recent study into attitudes of parents who avoid vaccinating their children. A/Prof Wood has suggested that promoting shame among parents who did not vaccinate was not an effective tactic to improve vaccination rates. He also emphasised that it was important to not 'lump-in' people who could not get their children vaccinated for logistical reasons with those who were ideologically opposed to vaccination.More information »
PDF of 10th edition Immunisation Handbook (2015 update) available online
Jan 2016 - News
A PDF version of the 2015 update of the 10th edition Australian Immunisation Handbook is available on the Australian Government Department of Health Immunise Australia website.More information »
'No jab, no pay' begins - Radio National podcast
Jan 2016 - News
Associate Professor Kristine Macartney of NCIRS appeared on ABC's Radio National breakfast program on January 11 to discuss the introduction of the federal government's 'No Jab, No Pay' initiative. This policy came into effect on January 1 and stipulates that children who are not fully immunised up to the age of 19 are no longer eligible for the Child Care Benefit or Rebate, nor the Family Tax Benefit A supplement. However, some experts have raised concerns that the policy may be counter-productive.More information »
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