NEJM: Evaluating and Deploying Covid-19 Vaccines — The Importance of Transparency, Scientific Integrity, and Public Trust

The following article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, discusses the importance of adhering to well-established and transparent regulatory processes when it comes to approving a COVID-19 vaccine. Reassuring the public with robust scientific evaluation from independent bodies, without interference from governments for the purposes of political advantage, is essential to promote public confidence and ensure the success of vaccination programs. 

Read the article in full here:

NEJM: Evaluating and Deploying Covid-19 Vaccines — The Importance of Transparency, Scientific Integrity, and Public Trust

New immunisation reference page: Identifying AEFI in diverse skin colour

The assessment of skin for clinical signs and symptoms is important when identifying adverse events following immunisation (AEFI). Since most dermatological assessment guidelines commonly refer to the presentation of symptoms in patients with light skin tones, the identification of AEFI in a timely manner in diverse skin colours can be challenging for immunisation providers.

Our new reference page details how symptoms such as pallor, cyanosis, erythema and urticaria may appear in diverse skin colours and discusses alternate methods of recognition. For more information please follow the link below:

MVEC: Identifying AEFI in diverse skin colour




COVID19 Road to a vaccine episode 14: Dr Bruce Gellin

In episode 14, our host, Associate Professor Nigel Crawford, speaks to Dr Bruce Gellin. Bruce is the President of Global Immunization at the Sabin Vaccine Institute in Washington. The Sabin Vaccine Institute’s mission is to make vaccines more accessible, enable innovation and expand immunisation across the globe. Bruce took up this role in 2017, prior to this serving as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the National Vaccine Program Office at the US Department of Health and Human Services where he served as technical and policy advisor to the WHO, focusing on influenza vaccines and global issues of vaccine hesitancy. Bruce has also worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), consulted for GAVI and is one of America’s principle spokespeople on vaccines and immunisations. He and Nigel discuss the following in the context of vaccine confidence:

  • The recent halting of the Oxford Astrazeneca trial and how the system that is in place did exactly what is supposed to
  • “The Cutter Incident” and the ongoing impact this has had on vaccine safety, particularly from the manufacturing perspective
  • The vast importance of ensuring immunisation providers understand the vaccine development process as if they don’t understand it and are sceptical this can have a huge impact on vaccine uptake 
  • The importance of open disclosure in the vaccine development pathway
  • How the Sabin Vaccine Institute is meeting the challenge of vaccine hesitancy
  • Sabin’s‘Boost’ program for healthcare workers 
  • How vaccines are monitored once they are in use, also called phase IV surveillance


Listen to the episode here:

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New immunisation reference page: Injection site nodules

Injection site nodules are a rare but known adverse event following immunisation. They can occur following any vaccine and are most commonly asymptomatic and self resolving. Our new reference page describes what injection site nodules are and the implications on future immunisations.

To learn more follow the link below:

MVEC: Injection site nodules

COVID19 Road to a vaccine episode 13: Professor Kim Mulholland

In episode 13, our host, Associate Professor Nigel Crawford, speaks to Professor Kim Mulholland. Kim is a paediatrician and Professor of Child Health from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, the University of Melbourne department of Paediatrics and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. With post-graduate training in immunology, respiratory medicine and tropical medicine, his vast experience includes developing a program of research covering all aspects of childhood pneumonia which helped guide WHO policies. He has been involved in the oversight of many vaccine trials and has served on steering committees or DSMBs for a range of vaccines including pneumococcal, dengue, RSV and COVID-19. He and Nigel discuss:

  • global issues brought about by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and some of the surprising ways the virus has spread globally
  • what we can learn from seroprevalence in countries such as India
  • vaccine nationalism and the push for global solidarity
  • the role of Australia in the pacific region in regards to vaccine preparedness
  • global, equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines


Listen here:

Spreaker - Apple - Spotify 


Check your knowledge on cold chain with MVEC's new quiz

MVEC and the Victorian DHHS Immunisation section have developed a new quiz for immunisation providers, aiming to check their knowledge on vaccine cold chain. Adherence to cold chain guidelines is essential to ensure that any vaccine administered to patients is safe and efficacious.

To access this quiz please head to the MVEC Education Portal or click on the link below:

MVEC: Quizzes



Halting the Oxford vaccine trial doesn't mean it's not safe- it shows they're following the right process

Due to a single event of an unexplained illness, the AstraZeneca Oxford group have announced a voluntary pause on all vaccinations across all sites of their COVID-19 vaccine candidate clinical trial. This pause will allow an independent committee to review the safety data and investigate the incident. 

The following article, published in The Conversation, outlines how this halt doesn't necessarily indicate that the vaccine is not safe, but reflects the robust processes for clinical trials. It is important to recognise that whilst these clinical trials are moving at pandemic speed, safety is not being compromised.

The Conversation: Halting the Oxford vaccine trial doesn't mean it's not safe- it shows they're following the right process

COVID19 Road to a vaccine episode 12: Professor Heidi Larson

In this episode of COVID19 Road to a vaccine, our host, Associate Professor Nigel Crawford speaks to Professor Heidi Larson. Heidi is an anthropologist and Director of the Vaccine Confidence Project and Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. The Vaccine Confidence Project is a WHO centre of excellence on addressing vaccine hesitancy. Heidi is the previous head of Global Immunisation Communication at UNICEF, chaired GAVI’s advocacy taskforce and served on the WHO SAGE working group on vaccine hesitancy. In this episode they discuss:

  • How and why Heidi founded The Vaccine Confidence Project
  • Why vaccine confidence is already proving to be so important in relation to a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine when there is not yet a vaccine that has gone through all the phases of a clinical trial
  • Whether or not vaccine confidence is impacted by the way in which different countries are handling the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic
  • The importance of health care workers modelling vaccine uptake to promote vaccine confidence
  • Positive ways we can use social media to promote vaccine preparedness
  • Resistance to mandatory vaccination and the importance of community vs herd immunity


Listen to the episode here:

Spreaker - Apple - Spotify 


2020 influenza vaccines- it's not too late to get vaccinated

Influenza disease can occur at any time of year and vaccination is recommended for everyone over 6-months of age. Certain patient groups are eligible for funded influenza vaccines on the National Immunisation Program (NIP). It is also available to purchase for those who do not meet funding criteria.

For further information on influenza vaccination in 2020 please refer to the following resources:

Australian Government Department of Health: 2020 influenza vaccines- it's not too late to get vaccinated
MVEC: Influenza vaccine recommendations
MVEC: Influenza vaccine- Frequently asked questions

New immunisation reference page: Melbourne immunisation drive-through clinics

Staying up to date with scheduled and additional vaccinations, remains essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. Concerning results from the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) National Child Health Poll, indicate the impact that the pandemic has had on immunisation, with data showing 1 in 5 children have had those vaccinations delayed since the beginning of the pandemic.

Families are reminded that it is safe and recommended to attend local immunisation providers (GP or local council) for vaccinations, however drive-through clinics are also available at Monash Health in Clayton and the RCH in Parkville. 

For more information please refer to the following:

MVEC: Melbourne immunisation drive-through clinics