COVID19 Road to a vaccine episode 11: Associate Professor Margie Danchin and Professor Julie Leask

In episode 11 of our COVID19 Road to a vaccine series, our host, Nigel Crawford, speaks to experts in vaccine confidence, Associate Professor Margie Danchin and Professor Julie Leask. Margie is a consultant paediatrician at the Royal Children’s Hospital, an Associate Professor within the University of Melbourne Department of Paediatrics and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, where she is the leader of the Vaccine Uptake Group. Julie is a social scientist and professor in the Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney and a visiting Professorial Fellow at NCIRS (the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance). In this episode they discuss:

  • Responses to vaccine hesitancy and promoting vaccine confidence from an Australian perspective 
  • The importance of language and definitions when it comes to vaccine confidence, hesitancy and uptake 
  • (5) important ways to prepare the public for a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine
  • The role of social media platforms in communicating this information
  • The importance of measuring vaccine confidence in the community
  • Ways of communicating well around adverse events in gaining community trust and maintaining vaccine programs, including utilising expertise from specialist immunisation clinics (SICs)


Listen to the episode here:

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New immunisation reference page: Foetal embryonic cells- utilised in vaccine development platforms

Foetal embryonic cell lines isolated in the early 1960's have been used to develop a number of various vaccines. As scientists work to produce an effective vaccine against SARS CoV-2 it is important to explore as many technologies as possible. Addressing ethical and religious concerns is an essential part of COVID-19 vaccine readiness planning. Our new reference page details the background behind the use of foetal embryonic cells and the role they play in the development of vaccines, the reasons why they are used, as well as addressing any religious and ethical implications.

To access our reference page follow the link to MVEC: Foetal embryonic cells- utilised in vaccine development platforms.

The use of foetal tissue in vaccine development

There has been attention in the media recently regarding the use of foetal cell lines by the Oxford Vaccine Group to develop their COVID-19 vaccine candidate. Cell lines are currently used to manufacture many vaccines including varicella, hepatitis A, rabies and MMR vaccines. 

The below information from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHoP) discusses the background behind using these cell lines in vaccine development as well as any potential ethical or religious concerns surrounding this. 

Vaccine ingredients- Fetal tissues



The RCH Immunisation Service: Drive-through clinic is now open

To support families in continuing to receive scheduled vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic, the RCH Immunisation Service has just opened its own immunisation drive-through clinic. Additional precautions have been implemented to ensure the safety of all patients, families and staff. Access to medical care remains an essential service during this time and staying up to date with scheduled immunisations is encouraged.

The drive-through clinic will operate on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9am - 1pm until September 15. 

Bookings for the drive-through clinic are mandatory and can be made by contacting the immunisation team via this link. 

New immunisation reference page: Immunosuppression and vaccines

Having certain medical conditions or taking specific medications can lead to immunosuppression and the decreased ability to fight infections. For these patients, prevention of disease is critical. Our new reference page outlines additional vaccines to consider, and specific vaccines that may be contraindicated.

To learn more follow the link to MVEC: Immunosuppression and vaccines 

COVID19 Road to a vaccine episode 10: Professor Paul Young and Professor Trent Munro

In episode 10 of our COVID19 Road to a vaccine series, our host, Nigel Crawford, speaks with Professors Paul Young and Trent Munro to discuss the University of Queensland (UQ) COVID-19 vaccine candidate. UQ and CEPI (the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation) have partnered with CSL (Seqirus) to advance their novel molecular clamp technology to develop their vaccine for COVID-19. This vaccine has recently progressed to Phase 1 clinical trials. In this episode they discuss:

  • The University of Queensland COVID19 vaccine development process
  • The involvement of CEPI in their trial
  • The use of a molecular clamp platform in the development of their protein SARS-CoV-2 vaccine
  • Results of their preclinical trials
  • Their partnership with CSL/Seqirus and the use of the MF59 adjuvant
  • The timeline of their clinical trials and the upcoming steps 


Listen to the episode here:

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New immunisation reference page: Breastfeeding and immunisations

Immunising breastfeeding mothers can not only protect the mother from vaccine preventable diseases but also provide passive immunity to the baby. Our new reference page details different vaccines and scenarios for consideration when immunising a mother who is breastfeeding.

To learn more follow the link to MVEC: Breastfeeding and immunisation

HealthEd podcast featuring Associate Professor Nigel Crawford

MVEC's Associate Professor Nigel Crawford was recently a guest speaker on the HealthEd podcast series Going Viral. In this podcast, Nigel discusses the COVID-19 vaccine, its access equity, safety and manufacture; as well as antibody responses following COVID-19 disease and how this may impact our vaccine strategy.

To listen to this podcast please follow the link

COVID19 Road to a vaccine episode 9: Professor Robert Booy

In episode 9 of our COVID19 Road to a vaccine series, our host, Associate Professor Nigel Crawford, speaks with Professor Robert Booy. Robert is a Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Sydney and is a Senior Professorial Fellow at NCIRS, the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance at Westmead Children’s Hospital. He has special research interests in serious infections and their prevention, particularly in the setting of aged care facilities. In this episode they discuss:

  • Special risk groups when it comes to SARS-CoV-2, in particular, those living and working in aged care facilities
  • How the ageing process leads to immunosenescence and the impact of this on vaccine efficacy in the elderly population
  • The use of adjuvants in vaccines for the elderly population
  • How to improve public health messaging and the management of respiratory illnesses in aged care facilities
  • Lessons learnt from around the world with high mortality rates in aged care residents and workers and how that can inform the response to outbreaks in aged care facilities in Australia


Listen to the episode here:

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The virus and the clock, with Moderna's Tal Zaks- A podcast with the Milken Institute

In this podcast, the Milken Institute interviews Tal Zaks, the Chief Medical Officer of Moderna Therapeutics to discuss the development of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate using messenger RNA (mRNA) technology. It took them only 63 days from the time the virus was sequenced until the vaccine candidate began human clinical trials. It is hoped that this new technology may also be adapted as possible treatments for other genetic diseases. 

Listen to the podcast here