NCIRS Seminar Series

NCIRS Seminar Series 2018 #7 - Wednesday 21 November 2018
Australian Immunisation Register & Handbook Update

The next NCIRS seminar/webinar will provide an update on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) and The Australian Immunisation Handbook.

Time: Wednesday 21 November 2018, 1.00 pm – 2.00 pm
Location: Kids Research Seminar Room, 178 Hawkesbury Road, Westmead, NSW
The session will also available via zoom webinar.

Tracie Hibbard, Director, Australian Immunisation Register Department of Human Services, will provide an overview of the latest enhancements to the AIR, how providers can ensure that immunisation status records of all patients are kept up to date as well as the resources available to support the AIR in practice.

Dr Helen Quinn, Senior Research Fellow, NCIRS, and Technical Editor, The Australian Immunisation Handbook, will then give a live demonstration of the features of the new online digital handbook and how providers can get the most from the new format and resources available.

We are pleased to invite questions ahead of the seminar/webinar and will aim to answer as many as possible on the day. Please submit your questions when registering for the webinar or if you are attending, submit questions here.

REGISTER HERE TO ATTEND (for catering please)

Tracie Hibbard, Director, Australian Immunisation Register Department of Human Services
Helen Quinn, Senior Research Fellow, NCIRS, and Technical Editor, The Australian Immunisation Handbook


NCIRS Seminar Series 2018 #6 - Wednesday 3 October 2018
Immunisation through an equity lens: New Zealand and global

International guest speaker Associate Professor Nikki Turner discussed equity in immunisation during this NCIRS seminar/webinar, presenting data on the programs that have been implemented in New Zealand and globally to address gaps for at-risk groups such as indigenous, migrant and refugee populations, and those who are medically at risk.

Nikki TurnerAssociate Professor Nikki Turner, Director Immunisation Advisory Centre, New Zealand
Associate Professor Nikki Turner is an academic General Practitioner, Director of the Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) and an associate professor in the Division of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Auckland. Nikki has developed and evolved IMAC from its inception in 1996 into a national communication, coordination, education and research centre.  Nikki's academic interests are in immunisation, primary health care and preventive child health. She represents the RNZCGP (College of General Practitioners) in child health interests, and is a health spokesperson for the Child Poverty Action Group. She is a member of the World Health Organization Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization and Chair of the Measles and Rubella elimination subcommittee.

The Australian perspective was discussed during the questions and answer session of this thought provoking Seminar/Webinar. 

Video resources
Slides and audio from the webinar are available below
The session was chaired by Professor Kristine Macartney, NCIRS Director



NCIRS Seminar Series 2018 #5 - Wednesday 19 September 2018
Vaccine safety and adverse events following immunisation: a practical approach

This seminar/webinar gives an overview of common expected and rarer serious adverse reactions following immunisation, the management and reporting of these adverse events.

Learn more about the resources available to support immunisation providers in discussions with patients/parents who have concerns about safety and adverse events. Real-life case study scenarios are presented by immunisation specialist service clinicians. Build your practical tool-kit and learn more about the referral services available around Australia.

Video resources
Slides and audio from the webinar are available below

Associate Professor Nigel Crawford
Nigel Crawford is Director of SAEFVIC (Surveillance of Adverse Events Following Vaccination in the Community), a vaccine safety and clinical immunisation research group based at Murdoch Childrens Research Institute. Having completed his medical undergraduate studies at Flinders University Adelaide, Dr Crawford has a masters of public health from Cardiff University, Wales and a Vaccinology PhD from The University of Melbourne. 

The SAEFVIC team is involved in the surveillance and follow-up of adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) in Victoria. Established in 2007, they have had over 14,000 AEFI reports and have published extensively in the scientific literature regarding vaccine safety.

Nigel Crawford is also the Head of the Immunisation Service at The Royal Children's Hospital and an expert in the vaccination of special risk groups (e.g. immunosuppressed patients) and the clinical evaluation of adverse events following immunisation. Nigel has been a member of Australian Technical and Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) since 2014 and is the current chair of the Meningococcal working party

Dr Lucy Deng
Lucy Deng is a general paediatrician and staff-specialist at NCIRS. She is part of the NSW Immunisation Specialist Service (NSWISS) team and reviews children who have experienced an adverse event following immunisation. Lucy is also currently undertaking a PhD in severe acute neurological events following immunisation. 

The NSW Immunisation Specialist Service (NSWISS) provides specialised immunisation advice to immunisation providers and families. It aims to provide better access to vaccination and to improve immunisation coverage for children with chronic medical conditions, their siblings and parents. The service includes a Specialist Immunisation Clinic to review and manage patients who have had an adverse event following immunisation and guide families who have concerns regarding vaccine safety. Families who are outside of the Sydney metropolitan area are offered consultations via a telehealth service. NSWISS also provides clinical advice and support to immunisation providers via a telephone advice line.


NCIRS Seminar Series 2018 #4 - Wednesday 11 July 2018
National Immunisation Program Schedule changes - Your questions answered

From 1 July 2018, the National Immunisation Program (NIP) schedule changed to include new vaccines and schedule changes. This includes the introduction of meningococcal ACWY vaccine at 12 months of age, rescheduling of the booster Hib vaccine from 12 months to 18 months, changes to the scheduling of the pneumococcal vaccine and introduction of pertussis vaccine for pregnant women on the NIP. This webinar provides an outline of the changes, the rationale behind the changes and answers to common questions.  

The PowerPoint slides from the repeat recording of this webinar are available here. [PDF- 3.9MB]
We are now able to offer an on-demand repeat recording of this webinar below


NCIRS Seminar Series 2018 #3 - Thursday 31 May 2018
Maternal vaccination: The knowns and unknowns

The successes of maternal immunisation strategies against tetanus, influenza and pertussis have stimulated investment in the development of new vaccines with indications for use during pregnancy to confer protection to newborns during the early months of life.

This seminar reviews the rationale and evidence for existing vaccines currently recommended for pregnant women in many countries, provides an overview of new vaccines being developed for future implementation in the obstetrical population, discusses uptake and determinants of immunisation during pregnancy, highlights safety monitoring issues and discusses considerations for high-risk pregnant women.

Video resources
Slides and audio from the webinar are available below.
The session was chaired by Professor Kristine Macartney, NCIRS Director


FELL headshotDr Deshayne Fell
Deshayne Fell is a perinatal epidemiologist, appointed as Assistant Professor in the School of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Ottawa, Canada, and as a Scientist in the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute. Her research uses large, linked population databases and registries to improve our understanding of factors affecting maternal and infant population health. Her current focus includes influenza and pertussis immunisation during pregnancy and their relationship with birth outcomes and longer-term paediatric health outcomes; safety and effectiveness of maternal immunization; and epidemiological research methods.

1712895 01 DSC 6776Associate Professor Nicholas Wood
Nicholas Wood is a staff specialist general paediatrician and Associate Professor and Sub-Dean (Postgraduate Research) in the Discipline of Child and Adolescent Health at the University of Sydney. He holds an NHMRC Career Development Fellowship. He leads the NSW Immunisation Specialist Service and coordinates the Immunisation Adverse Events Clinic at The Children's Hospital at Westmead. He is interested in maternal and neonatal immunisation, as well as research into vaccine safety and the genetics of adverse events.



NCIRS Seminar Series 2018 #2  - Monday 23 April 2018
Active surveillance for immunisation programs: It’s the future

Immunisation programs have traditionally relied on passive surveillance of disease prevalence and vaccine safety. Recognition of significant disease outbreak and safety signals maybe delayed due to the timing and nature of data collection in a passive surveillance system.

This seminar focuses on the world-leading active surveillance systems in place in Canada and Australia, giving insights into how this data complements traditional passive surveillance, informs decision making for immunisation programs and assists in both countries meeting international commitments for vaccine safety monitoring and disease reporting.  It is the way of the future.  

Associate Professor Julie Bettinger, provides insights from the Canadian Immunization Monitoring Program ACTive (IMPACT) and Canadian National Vaccine Safety Network (CANVAS). Dr Phillip Britton, spoke about the Australian Paediatric Active Enhanced Disease Surveillance Network (PAEDS) and its role in shaping Australian immunisation policy. Ms Catherine Glover then provided the latest data from the Australian Active Vaccine Safety Surveillance Network (AusVaxSafety) highlighting the importance of this relatively new system to informing Australia’s vaccine safety surveillance.

Video resources 
Slides and audio from the webinar are available below. 
The session was chaired by Professor Kristine Macartney, NCIRS Director

JBAssociate Professor Julie Bettinger
Dr. Bettinger is an Associate Professor at the Vaccine Evaluation Center in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of British Columbia and a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar. She is an infectious disease epidemiologist whose research interests include vaccine safety and vaccine preventable diseases (specifically meningococcal and pneumococcal invasive infections), as well as attitudes and beliefs around immunization uptake and use. She is the data center director for the Canadian Immunization Monitoring Program, Active (IMPACT), an active surveillance network for vaccine preventable diseases and vaccine adverse events in 12 tertiary care pediatric hospitals across Canada and the lead investigator for CIRN’s Canadian National Vaccine Safety (CANVAS) network, which monitors the safety of influenza vaccines each year.


Dr Phillip Britton
Dr Britton is a paediatrician and infectious diseases physician at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, and a senior lecturer in child and adolescent health with the University of Sydney. He is an early career clinician researcher with an interest in neurological infections, tropical infectious diseases, and international child health. His PhD investigated the clinical epidemiology of encephalitis in Australian Children, using a national, active, hospital-based surveillance network (Paediatric Active Enhanced Disease Surveillance – PAEDS). He remains involved in active surveillance of childhood encephalitis, Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP – WHO polio surveillance), and influenza. His doctoral studies showed childhood encephalitis to be associated with epidemics of important emerging pathogens amongst children in Australia including EVA71 and HPeV3 and determined the magnitude of the contribution of influenza to this severe disease. 


Ms Catherine Glover
Catherine Glover is a Research Officer at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance. As an epidemiologist for AusVaxSafety, she analyses data on adverse events following immunisation solicited via active surveillance. Catherine has a background in epidemiology, mathematics, and microbiology




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

This seminar focuses on influenza vaccines.

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.

In this seminar Professor Arnold Monto discusses how current, more sober, observations of vaccine effectiveness have helped us in understanding the ways our current vaccines might be improved. Professor Robert Booy presents on risk factors, key outcomes and local control efforts.

Video resources 
Slides and audio from the webinar are available below. 
The session was chaired by Professor Kristine Macartney, NCIRS Director. 

monto 32 head shot 2

Professor Arnold Monto
Arnold S. Monto is the Thomas Francis Jr. Collegiate Professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology. The major focus of his work has been the epidemiology, prevention and treatment of acute infections in the individual and the community.  He led the studies of respiratory infection in Tecumseh, MI, a landmark study of illness in the community, and is now updating these observations in Michigan households with children.  Dr Monto is involved in assessing the efficacy of various types of influenza vaccine in prophylaxis and antivirals in prophylaxis and therapy of influenza. He now heads observational studies of effectiveness of influenza vaccines in various settings.  He has been a member of the National Allergy and Infectious Disease Advisory Council of the National Institutes of Health.  He is a past president of the American Epidemiological Society and the 2009 recipient of the Alexander Fleming Award of the Infectious Diseases Society of America for lifetime achievement.

Robert BooyProfessor Robert Booy
Professor Robert Booy is the Head of Clinical Research at NCIRS. His research interests extend from understanding the genetic basis of susceptibility to, and severity of, infectious diseases, especially influenza, RSV and invasive disease caused by encapsulated organisms; the clinical, public health, social and economic burden of these diseases; and means by which to prevent or control serious infections through vaccines, drugs and non-pharmaceutical measures.

NCIRS Seminar Series 2017 #7  - Wednesday 22 November 2017
Tailoring Immunization Programmes (TIP)

Tailoring Immunization Programmes (TIP) uses behavioural insights to improve vaccination rates in communities where existing efforts have not been effective. Solutions are based on in-depth analysis of the coverage gaps and qualitative research on why people do and don’t vaccinate, and are co-designed with the service providers and users in mind.

In this seminar Professor David Durrheim (University of Newcastle & Director of Health Protection, Hunter New England Health) gave an overview of why TIP is required if measles elimination is to be maintained; Associate Professor Julie Leask (University of Sydney) presented on the European approach to TIP; and Patrick Cashman (Hunter New England LHD Immunisation Coordinator) provided an overview of the Maitland TIP pilot and early results.

A link to the video resources from this seminar can be requested by emailing


David Durrheim is Director of Health Protection, Hunter New England and Conjoint Professor of Public Health Medicine at the University of Newcastle.  His particular expertise is in vaccinology, communicable diseases surveillance and response, epidemiology and biopreparedness.  In the past decade he has served as an expert adviser and consultant to a number of World Health Organization (WHO), regional and national health programmes in the African and Pacific Regions, particularly on novel surveillance and outbreak response strategies, and on the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization.  David is currently active on two SAGE working groups: measles immunisation and Ebola vaccines.  Professor Durrheim chairs the Australian National Polio Certification Committee and the WHO Western Pacific Regional Measles Elimination Verification Commission.  He is a member of the Scientific Organizing Committee of the Global Vaccine and Immunisation Research Forum.  This forum sets and monitors the global vaccine research agenda.

Julie Leask is a social scientist and associate professor in the Sydney Nursing School at the University of Sydney. She is also a visiting senior research fellow at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance.  Julie has academic qualifications in nursing and midwifery, a Master of Public Health (USYD, 1998) and PhD on vaccine risk communication (USYD, 2002). She currently leads a program of research on vaccination acceptance with a focus on primary care and community settings. She has had advisory roles with the WHO Europe Regional Office, the US President’s Cancer Panel, the US Institute of Medicine, the US National Vaccine Program Office, the Australian Academy of Science and the Council of the National Health and Medical Research Council. In 2015 she won the PHAA NSW branch Public Health Impact Award and the Sax Institute Research Action Award.

Patrick Cashman has worked in Victoria, Tasmania, NT and NSW as a RN in infectious diseases, ICU, ED, remote health and public health and is currently the Immunisation Coordinator at Hunter New England LHD NSW. Operational and research interests include nurse immuniser education, Aboriginal immunisation and adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) clinical follow up and surveillance. Patrick manages the Vaxtracker AEFI active surveillance project.

NCIRS Seminar Series 2017 #6 - Wednesday 27th September 2017
Addressing vaccine hesitancy and refusal

A/Prof Julie Leask – University of Sydney

Addressing vaccine hesitancy and refusal can be difficult. Online environments produce adversarial discussions about vaccination, intensifying polarisation and marginalising the hesitant. Parents often bring questions or concerns about vaccination to the clinical encounter. How health professionals invite and address these concerns can move parents towards, or further away from, vaccination. Many health professionals find resolute vaccine refusal very challenging.

This seminar focused on work to support conversations between parents and health professionals called SKAI (Sharing Knowledge About Immunisation). Developed by a multidisciplinary team, SKAI offers communication strategies and resources for three possible pathways aligned to whether parents are (1) ready to vaccinate, (2) hesitant or (3) declining vaccination. The presentation by Julie Leask will focus on findings from early testing in parent focus groups; in-depth interviews with GPs and nurses; and conversations between clinicians and vaccine-hesitant or declining parents. Professor Leask will also present on the broader evidence base of how to improve vaccination coverage, concluding that there is no single formula but that a range of strategies are needed.

A link to the video resources from this seminar can be requested by emailing


NCIRS Seminar Series 2017 #5 - Wednesday 23rd August 2017
Varicella Zoster Virus Vaccines: Preventing Chicken Pox & Shingles

This seminar features two Varicella Zoster Virus international experts.
A/Prof Kristine Macartney (Deputy Director, NCIRS) provides an overview of the impact of varicella vaccination in Australia, and the introduction of the live-attenuated Zoster vaccine, and Prof Tony Cunningham, AO (Executive Director, WIMR) speaks on the clinical development and potential impact of the new non-live, adjuvanted, subunit (HZ/su) vaccine, Shingrix.

Video resources

1. Talk 1: Varicella and Zoster vaccination Australian update by A/Prof Kristine Macartney

2. Talk 2: The new Herpes zoster vaccine by Prof Tony Cunningham

 3. Questions & Discussion: Varicella Zoster Virus Vaccines: Preventing Chicken Pox & Shingles

NCIRS Seminar Series 2017 #4 - Wednesday 26th July 2017
Tuberculosis & the Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine: global burden and Australian immunisation programs

In this seminar held on Wednesday 26th July we hear from Professor Ben Marais on global TB disease burden issues and Dr Frank Beard on the BCG vaccine and evaluation of Australian immunisation programs.

Video resources

1. Talk 1: Tuberculosis in children by Professor Ben Marais

 2. Talk 2: The Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine & Australian immunisation programs by Dr Frank Beard


NCIRS Seminar Series 2017 #3 - Wednesday 24th May 2017
Maternal Immunisation against Pertussis: Latest evidence

Maternal vaccination in the third trimester of pregnancy is now the preferred strategy for protection of infants in the “immunity gap” between birth and three-months of age. This strategy was however implemented in the absence of evidence from clinical trials, and many questions about the details of its effects remain.  

In this seminar Prof. Peter McIntyre (Director, NCIRS) gives an overview of the background on maternal immunisation against pertussis and present some recent evidence from the UK and California. Dr Nathan Saul (Epidemiologist, Vaccine Preventable Diseases at NSW Health) presents data on effectiveness from a NSW case-control study conducted by all public health units in 2015-16.

Video resources

1. Talk 1: Maternal immunisation against pertussis – background and current evidence by Prof Peter McIntyre, NCIRS

 2. Talk 2: NSW infant pertussis case-control study
Protective And Risk Factors For Pertussis Infection In Infants In NSW: A Case-control Study To Estimate Post-implementation Effectiveness Of Maternal Pertussis Vaccination



NCIRS Seminar Series 2017 #2 - Wednesday 22 March 2017
All Creatures Great and Small: A One Health Approach to the Problem of Q Fever

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 provided 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.

NCIRS Seminar Series 2017 #1 -  Wednesday 22 February 2017
Pneumococcal vaccines for elderly adults

The first NCIRS seminar covered 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 PBAC has recommended, in principle, moving from 23 valent polysaccharide vaccine to 13 valent conjugate vaccine to prevent pneumonia.

Epidemiologists Prof. Robert Booy and Dr Sanjay Jayasinghe presented on the issues on Wednesday 22nd February 2017.

Video resources

1. Introduction by Prof. P. McIntyre and Talk 1: Pneumococcal disease epidemiology in the elderly & 13vPCV efficacy by Sanjay Jayasinghe


2. Talk 2: Comparing the effectiveness of polysaccharide pneumococcal vaccine in bacteremic and non-bacteremic pneumonia: Focus on pneumococcal pneumonia by Prof. Robert Booy


3. Questions & Discussion: Pneumococcal Vaccines for Elderly Adults