News & Events

Updated NCIRS Meningococcal disease factsheet

Apr 2017 - News

Thanks to all those who attended the Controlling Meningococcal Disease in 2017 symposium last Friday. It was fantastic to be able to hear from so many leading clinicians, researchers and public health authorities about meningococcal disease and vaccination programs in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Following our meningococcal symposium, we've updated our Meningococcal disease factsheet

Click here to view the updated ‘Meningococcal vaccines for Australians: Information for providers’ factsheet

The full list of NCIRS factsheets can be viewed on our website – click here


Congratulations to NCIRS Public Health Physician, Dr Anastasia Phillips, recipient of the 2016 Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine (AFPHM) Sue Morey Medal.

Apr 2017 - News

NCIRS would like to congratulate Dr Anastasia Phillips, recipient of the 2016 Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine (AFPHM) Sue Morey Medal. The AFPHM Sue Morey Medal is awarded to the trainee who has achieved the highest mark in the AFPHM Oral Examination.

Dr Phillips completed the AFPHM Public Health Medicine Advanced Training Program in 2016 while working at NCIRS. She continues to work at the centre, predominantly in vaccine safety surveillance, and is a PhD Candidate with the University of Sydney. Dr Phillips also holds an academic appointment as Clinical Associate Lecturer with the School of Public Health, University of Sydney.



Controlling meningococcal disease in 2017 - evidence from Australia, NZ and the UK - Friday 7 April 2017

Mar 2017 - Events

You are invited to a one-day symposium organised by the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance, in partnership with the National Neisseria Network and the Communicable Diseases Network Australia.

Meningococcal disease in Australia has increased from a nadir of 149 cases in 2013 to 253 cases in 2016, however this remains less than half the 688 cases notified in 2002. This increase has been driven by serogroups W and Y, which now account for >50% of cases. This workshop brings together national and international experts on meningococcal disease and will hear the latest data from meningococcal B and ACWY vaccine programs in the United Kingdom. The workshop aims to distill the best evidence to inform Australia’s response to meningococcal disease in 2017.


Date: Friday 7 April 2017
Time:  9.30am – 4.15pm
Venue: Sydney University, Refectory Room, Level 3, Holme Building (Directions Map Click Here)
Cost: $165 (Incl. GST & Booking Fees)

Register Now. Click here. Hurry places are limited. Registration required.

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More information »

Is there a test your child can take before getting vaccinated, as Pauline Hanson said?

Mar 2017 - News

In this article published in The Conversation Associate Professor Kristine Macartney (NCIRS), Associate Professor Nicholas Wood (NCIRS) and Associate Professor Julie Leask (University of Sydney) address the comments made by Senator Hanson in a recent interview on Insiders. Hanson commented that people should have a test to see if they have a reaction to a vaccine before they are vaccinated. These experts in infectious diseases and immunisation state "Immunisation programs prevent millions of deaths worldwide each year. Vaccine safety monitoring – what experts call vaccine pharmacovigilance – as well as many other checks and balances before and after vaccines registration, ensure that vaccines have a minimal risk of causing harm. There is no blood test to see if vaccines shouldn’t be given. In fact, the best “test” for a deciding if a vaccine is appropriate is taking a good old medical history." 

Read the full article by clicking here


ATAGI 2017 Influenza Statement and updated Influenza Chapter of the Handbook published online

Mar 2017 - News

The following two items have been published on the Immunise Australia website:

1. The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) 2017 Influenza Statement, and

2. The updated Influenza chapter of The Australian Immunisation Handbook, 10th Edition (2016 Update)

These two publications are designed to complement the information within each other.

NCIRS Seminar Series - All Creatures Great and Small: A One Health Approach to the Problem of Q Fever - Wednesday 22 March

Mar 2017 - Events

Seminar series banner 22.3.2017

Q fever, caused by Coxiella burnetii, is a serious zoonotic disease in humans with a worldwide distribution. Many species of animals are capable of transmitting C. burnetii, and consequently all veterinary workers are at risk for this disease. Australia is the only country to have a licensed Q fever vaccine (QVax ). This vaccine has been readily available and used in Australia for many years in at-risk groups, however still has 600 notifications across Australia annually.

This presentation will provide an overview of the sources of Q fever in our animal populations, new data on longevity of immunity post vaccination, as well as information on the safety of the Q fever vaccine in young adults and barriers to uptake of the vaccine.

Register Now! Click here. Hurry places are limited. Registration required for space and catering purposes please.
Time: Wednesday 22nd March 11am-12pm
Location: Seminar Room 1 and 2, CMRI Building, 214 Hawkesbury Road, Westmead, NSW 2145
Cost: Free

Light lunch will be provided

More information »

NCIRS Seminar Series - Pneumococcal vaccines for elderly adults - Wednesday 22 February

Feb 2017 - Events

seminar series 22nd Feb 2018

You are invited to the first event of the NCIRS 2017 Seminar Series on Wednesday 22 February

The first NCIRS seminar of 2017 will be looking at the internationally controversial area of pneumococcal vaccines for elderly adults. Persons over 65 have a progressively increasing incidence of pneumococcal invasive disease and pneumonia but both available vaccines have limitations. In Australia the PABC has recommended, in principle, moving from 23 valent polysaccharide vaccine to 13 valent conjugate vaccine to prevent pneumonia.

Hear about the issues from epidemiologists Prof. Robert Booy and Dr Sanjay Jayasinghe on Wednesday 22nd February.

Register Now! Click here. Hurry places are limited. Registration required for space and catering purposes please.
Time: Wednesday 22nd February 11am-12pm
Location: Seminar Room 1 and 2, CMRI Building, 214 Hawkesbury Road, Westmead, NSW 2145
Cost: Free

Light lunch will be provided

Congratulations to NCIRS Deputy Director A/Prof Kristine Macartney on her Research Action award from the Sax Institute

Dec 2016 - News

Congratulations to NCIRS Deputy Director, Associate Professor Kristine Macartney, who has been awarded one of three 2016 Sax Institute Research Action Awards. The Sax Institute established the Research Action Awards in 2015 to recognise researchers whose work has made a real-world difference to people’s health and wellbeing. A panel of national and international experts chose the three award winners.

Associate Professor Macartney, a paediatrician and infectious disease specialist, has devoted her career to researching the benefits of childhood vaccines and is responsible for a major change in the way vaccine safety is monitored in Australia. From 2017, the AusVaxSafety National Surveillance System – a vaccine monitoring system led by Associate Professor Macartney at NCIRS – will actively monitor the safety of all government-funded vaccines for both children and adults, using real-time reports of patients’ vaccine experiences obtained via SMS or email.

"Vaccines against zoster [shingles], whooping cough [pertussis] and influenza have saved countless people from experiencing severe illness and death – getting the information to persons of all ages about the benefits and risks of vaccines is absolutely crucial. The AusVaxSafety National Surveillance System will greatly assist this because for the first time, we will be continuously monitoring any reactions – or non-reactions – to all vaccines as they are given," said Associate Professor Macartney.

“The commitment of researchers who are passionate about making a tangible difference is critical to improving our health system and individual health outcomes,” said Sax Institute CEO Professor Sally Redman.

“I congratulate our awardees – Associate Professor Kristine Macartney, Dr Kees van Gool and Associate Professor Angela Dawson. Their work is a shining example of how research can help address the issues we face as a society.

“The safety of the vaccines we give to our children, sexual and reproductive healthcare outcomes for women and girls, and improving the equity and efficiency of Medicare are fundamentally important topics − these are three worthy winners.”


Congratulations to Dr Harunor Rashid on his SUPRA Supervisor of the Year Award

Nov 2016 - News

The SUPRA (Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association) Awards recognise and reward excellence in supervision as nominated and judged by research postgraduates at the University. Harunor supervises six PhD students in the Discipline of Child and Adolescent Health – three as research supervisor and three in an auxiliary supervisor role. He has positive and constructive relationships with his students, provides great assistance with research and support for his students’ research careers, and has an expert knowledge of his field of research.

Professor Robert Booy presented the award at a special ceremony at NCIRS. Professor Booy said, “Harunor is one of life's treasures."

Report on vaccine preventable child deaths

Nov 2016 - News

Parents are reminded to talk with their doctor to ensure their children are fully vaccinated following a review of vaccine preventable deaths over the past decade in NSW.

A report from NCIRS on ‘Child deaths from vaccine preventable infectious diseases, NSW 2005–2014’, commissioned by the NSW Child Death Review Team (CDRT), was tabled in the NSW Parliament on 22 November.

While child deaths due to vaccine preventable diseases are now rare in Australia, the report found 23 deaths between 2005 and 2014 that were considered preventable or potentially preventable by vaccinations that were available at the time of the child’s death. Another 30 deaths were not considered preventable at the time although 15 would now be covered by vaccines.

The majority of deaths were due to influenza, meningococcal disease and pneumococcal disease with most deaths in babies under 6 months of age. Several deaths were due to whooping cough and chickenpox.

A third of the children also had health problems that put them at high risk of severe disease.

NCIRS Director Peter McIntyre said the report highlighted the need for parents and healthcare professionals to follow the recommendations in The Australian Immunisation Handbook.

“Immunisation has been successful in dramatically reducing the number of childhood deaths from infectious diseases in Australia,” Professor McIntyre said.

“It is important for parents to speak with their doctor about influenza vaccine, as it is recommended in The Australian Immunisation Handbook for children, particularly under 5 years of age.

“Parents of children with medical conditions or compromised immune systems should talk to their doctor about what vaccinations might be needed for their child or family.

“Pregnant women are also encouraged to speak to their doctor or midwife about free vaccinations for whooping cough and influenza,” he said.

For more information click here

Media contact: Elizabeth Williams on (02) 9845 3572 or


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