News & Events
Updated Factsheets - Meningococcal vaccines for Australians and Meningococcal vaccines – frequently asked questions
Mar 2018 - News
The following fact sheets have been updated:
- Meningococcal vaccines for Australians factsheet
- Meningococcal vaccines – frequently asked questions
The updates include the latest information on jurisdictional programs and information on a newly registered Meningococcal B vaccine, Trumenba®.
These and other NCIRS factsheets are available on the NCIRS factsheets webpage.More information »
Media Release - ‘No Jab No Pay’ drives adolescent measles vaccination catch-up
Mar 2018 - News
A new report from the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) shows that over 43,000 10- to 19-year olds received a catch-up second dose of measles-containing vaccine in 2016, most of these likely actioned as a result of the federal government’s ‘No Jab No Pay' policy.
This report is the first look at catch-up vaccination in adolescents since the introduction of the federal government’s ‘No Jab No Pay' policy on 1 January 2016. Data from the newly expanded national immunisation register was used for this analysis.
The report also found the proportion of children fully immunised at 1 and 5 years of age had reached the highest levels ever recorded in mid-2016 (at 93.9% and 93.5% respectively), likely due, in part, to the introduction of the ‘No Jab No Pay' policy.
Dr Frank Beard, public health physician, and head of coverage and surveillance at NCIRS, described the level of measles vaccination catch-up in adolescents and improved immunisation rates in younger children as important outcomes.
“While Australia has been certified free of local measles, we need to maintain high immunisation rates as we are constantly at threat from measles coming into the country from overseas and spreading locally,” he said.
“Measles catch-up vaccination in adolescents is particularly important, as recent outbreaks have disproportionately affected this age group due to inadequate vaccination,” he added.
In the 2012 measles outbreak, the largest in Australia since 1997 (168 cases) arising as a result of a traveller returning from Thailand with measles, the 10- to 19-year-old age group was over-represented, accounting for almost one third of cases.
The NCIRS report complements the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare “Healthy Communities” reports on immunisation rates at local area level, also released on Thursday, by highlighting whether vaccines are given on time, and the uptake of specific vaccines, including those given only to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. The report also shows trends in the numbers of children with a registered medical vaccination exemption.
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AusVaxSafety adds Gardasil®9 to active surveillance
Mar 2018 - News
From January 2018, people aged around 12 to 14 years are being offered the new HPV vaccine (Gardasil®9) in a 2-dose schedule through school-based programs under the National Immunisation Program (NIP).
AusVaxSafety, Australia’s real-time active vaccine safety surveillance system, will monitor Gardasil®9 safety to accompany this change to the NIP. AusVaxSafety is led by NCIRS and predominantly uses the SmartVax survey tool to gather feedback from recently vaccinated Australians. AusVaxSafety data are provided to state and territory health departments, and the Australian Government Department of Health to inform vaccine safety in Australia.
Active surveillance of the new HPV vaccine will provide valuable safety data desired by consumers, parents and the general public. Inclusion of school-based vaccination under AusVaxSafety further demonstrates the flexibility of the system to adapt to new vaccine safety surveillance needs in Australia.
AusVaxSafety currently actively monitors pertussis vaccine in children, zoster vaccine in older adults and all-age influenza vaccines. The results can be viewed on the AusVaxSafety website.
Professor Kristine Macartney appointed NCIRS Director
Mar 2018 - News
Congratulations to Professor Kristine Macartney on her appointment as Director of the National Centre for Research and Surveillance (NCIRS). In addition to this appointment, Kristine is also Senior Staff Specialist at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Professor in Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Sydney and Senior Editor of The Australian Immunisation Handbook.
Kristine has held the key leadership position of Deputy Director, NCIRS since 2010 and has been instrumental in the growth and success of numerous program areas within NCIRS that are of state, national and international importance, including two national surveillance networks: Paediatric Active Enhanced Disease Surveillance (PAEDS) and Active Vaccine Safety Surveillance (AusVaxSafety).
Kristine’s research at NCIRS has focussed on all aspects of vaccinology and vaccine-preventable disease control, especially viral diseases, vaccine policy-making and vaccine safety. She has authored more than 110 peer-reviewed publications.
Kristine has held roles on numerous key peak advisory committees, including the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and the Advisory Committee on Vaccines (ACV) of the TGA. In the last 5 years, Kristine has been an investigator on NHMRC grants on vaccines and infectious diseases, totalling $9.8 million in funding.
Media Release - Extensive evaluation of scientific studies confirms HPV vaccine safety
Mar 2018 - News
The National Centre for Immunisation Research & Surveillance (NCIRS) has undertaken an extensive evaluation of the human papillomavirus virus (HPV) vaccines in use globally, confirming their excellent safety profile and will continue to monitor the vaccine.
Four out of five people will be infected with HPV in their lifetime; this infection can lead to cancer and other diseases. HPV vaccine protects against cervical and other cancers and is recommended for routine vaccination at age 12-13 years. It is delivered primarily through free, school-based immunisation programs.
In 2018, a new HPV vaccine, Gardasil®9, which protects against additional HPV types, will be used in Australia. AusVaxSafety, Australia’s national active vaccine safety surveillance system, will monitor Gardasil®9 safety from 2018 to accompany this change to the National Immunisation Program (NIP). AusVaxSafety is led by NCIRS and predominantly uses the SmartVax survey tool to gather feedback from recently vaccinated Australians.
In recent years, misinformation about the safety of HPV vaccine has affected confidence in vaccination, which in turn has reduced the number of young people being vaccinated in some countries. Importantly, Australia continues to have one of the highest vaccination coverage rates for HPV vaccine globally, with approximately three quarters of young males and females taking up the vaccine to be protected against cancer.
Our extensive review of HPV vaccine safety examined 109 studies including 15 population-based studies in over 2.5 million vaccinated individuals across six countries. The findings built on an earlier review of over 100 earlier studies.
Key insights from this review include:
- There is a large amount of information on HPV vaccines, but the information is of variable quality. High quality, well-conducted scientific studies confirm that the vaccine is safe
- Evidence shows HPV vaccine is very safe overall. It doesn’t increase the risk of developing nervous system or autoimmune conditions
The incoming Director of NCIRS and paediatric infectious disease specialist Professor Kristine Macartney says, “Prevention of cervical and other HPV-related cancers is vital worldwide. Our thorough review of all current studies confirms the safety of this life-saving vaccine. Our findings align with reports from the World Health Organization and many other experts that have deemed HPV vaccines to be ‘extremely safe’”. In addition, AusVaxSafety will provide real time feedback from vaccinated adolescents at select sites across Australia to continue to track safety as Gardasil9 is rolled-out.
Co-author Associate Prof Julia Brotherton, Medical Director of the National HPV Vaccination Program Register, agrees that the review reinforces the known safety of the vaccine, saying “The high levels of uptake we have achieved with this vaccine shows that Australian parents do want their kids to be protected against HPV and the cancers it can cause. We have more than 10 years of experience now showing that parents are right in confidently choosing to vaccinate their kids in our world leading school based programs.”
ASID Adult Immunisation Satellite Workshop
Feb 2018 - Events
'Vaccination is not just for kids': what infectious disease physicians need to know
Wednesday, 9 May 2018, 2.30 pm – 5.30 pm
Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa
This workshop, organised by the AusVaxSafety group at NCIRS, in partnership with Surveillance of Adverse Events Following Vaccination In the Community (SAEFVIC), is being held prior to the ASID Annual Scientific Meeting.More information »
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.
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.
October - December 2017- Newsletter
Dec 2017 - Newsletters
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.
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