New MVEC podcast: The Vaccine Coverage

MVEC is excited to share that we will be launching a brand new podcast series: The Vaccine Coverage.

This podcast series will feature conversations with special guests on a range of topics relating to vaccination in Australia. The Vaccine Coverage is for anyone who wants to learn more about vaccination: parents, individuals receiving vaccines and vaccine providers too.

Stay tuned.

And in the meantime, check out our previous podcast series COVID19 Road to a vaccine, in which MVEC Director Prof Nigel Crawford interviewed national and international vaccine experts in the leadup to the launch of COVID-19 vaccines.

Immunisation Coalition: 2024 Meningococcal webinar

The Immunisation Coalition will host the 2024 Meningococcal webinar on Tuesday 20 February.

The webinar will provide an update on invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) in the community, and features Prof Robert Booy with Dr Andrew Baird as moderator.

When: 6:00 pm EDT on 20 February 2024

Learn more about the webinar and register through the Immunisation Coalition.

MVEC: Meningococcal

Updated immunisation reference page: Pneumococcal

Pneumococcal disease is a leading cause of serious illness in Australian children under 2 years and older Australians, and is responsible for over a million deaths worldwide every year.

Pneumococcal disease is caused by infection with the bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae. Symptoms vary depending on the site of infection; they may include fever, headache, earache and cough. Infection may result in meningitis (inflammation of the tissue surrounding the brain and spinal cord), pneumonia, septicaemia (blood infection) and osteomyelitis (bone infection), for example.

We have recently updated our pneumococcal reference page. The updated page includes more details on pneumococcal transmission and epidemiology, as well as detailed guidance on vaccine recommendations by age and risk category.

MVEC: Pneumococcal

WHO: Nearly 10 000 children vaccinated as malaria vaccine rollout in Africa expands

Nearly 10,000 children in Burkina Faso and Cameroon have received the RTS,S malaria vaccine in recent weeks. The vaccine rollout in the two countries is a critical step forward in the fight against one of the leading causes of death in Africa. At least 28 African countries plan to introduce a malaria vaccine as part of their national immunisation programs.

There have been two malaria vaccines endorsed for use in Africa: RTS,S (available now) and R21 (expected to be available in mid 2024). Four doses are recommended for both vaccines; 3 by 9 months of age and the last dose at 18 months of age.

WHO: Nearly 10 000 children vaccinated as malaria vaccine rollout in Africa expands

Gavi: Vaccine profiles: malaria

The Guardian: Brazil starts mass vaccination amid upsurge in dengue fever

Brazil has become the first country to roll out a national dengue vaccination program, in response to a surge of dengue fever cases across the country. The country's health ministry said nearly 365,000 dengue cases were reported in the first five weeks of 2024, four times the number during the same period in 2023.

Brazil has purchased 5.2m doses of the dengue vaccine Qdenga and is commencing vaccination of children aged 10 to 14 years.

Dengue is a viral infection, spread by mosquitoes to people. Since the beginning of 2023, there have been more than five million cases globally and more than 5,000 dengue-related deaths reported.

The Guardian: Brazil starts mass vaccination amid upsurge in dengue fever

WHO: Disease outbreak news: Dengue

MCRI: Study into rare side effects of COVID-19 vaccines

A new international study will examine the rare side effects caused by COVID-19 vaccines.

The University of Alberta in Canada is leading the study, through the International Network of Special Immunization Services (INSIS). INSIS brings together specialist clinicians in vaccine safety, systems biology and genomics, including AusVaxSafety, to characterise the risk factors and underlying mechanism of adverse events following COVID-19 immunisation.

INSIS focuses on very rare adverse reactions, those which affect less than 0.001 % of the population, that occur after COVID-19 vaccination. This study aims to understand the causes and risk factors behind these occurrences, to ensure the development of even safer vaccines in potential future pandemics.

Read more on the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) website.


MVEC: International Network of Special Immunization Services

MVEC: AusVaxSafety: vaccine safety surveillance in Australia

MVEC: AEFI-CAN: Adverse Events Following Immunisation – Clinical Assessment Network


Updated immunisation reference page: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is one of the leading causes of respiratory tract infections in young children. While for some it can cause the common cold, for others, it may lead to more severe infection. Children under 1 year of age, individuals with underlying medical conditions (e.g. chronic cardiac and lung disease), the older population and immunocompromised people are more likely to experience serious disease and hospitalisation.

MVEC has recently updated its RSV reference page to include information about the newly approved AREXVY vaccine and with more detail on RSV symptoms, epidemiology and prevention.

MVEC: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)

OPTIONS XII for the Control of Influenza: Abstract submissions open

OPTIONS for the Control of Influenza is a global scientific meeting with a dedicated focus on influenza. OPTIONS XII will be held in Brisbane from Sunday 29 September to Wednesday 2 October 2024.

Highlights of this year’s conference include focuses on:

  • Pacific Island and First Nations health
  • Interdisciplinary science
  • Knowledge exchange and networking
  • Policy and advocacy.

Abstracts submission is now open. Abstracts must be submitted by Friday 5 April 2024.

Learn more about OPTIONS XII and abstract submission on the OPTIONS XII website.

Mobile-based game designed to fight misinformation around climate change, and now vaccines

The ‘Cranky Uncle’ game – a mobile/web game designed to fight misinformation on climate change – has been adapted into the ‘Cranky Uncle Vaccine’ game for use in East African countries.

Melbourne academic Dr John Cook developed the ‘Cranky Uncle’ game to incentivise players to build resilience against misinformation.

The game relies on inoculation theory as a solution to misinformation. In the game, the cranky uncle character teaches the player techniques of science denial (e.g. fake experts and logical fallacies). The theory is that exposure to a weakened form of misinformation can develop cognitive immunity.

The new ‘Cranky Uncle Vaccine’ game was co-designed through workshops held in Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda, and informed by a review of studies on vaccine misinformation.

Though it is climate-focused, the original version of the ‘Cranky Uncle’ game provides helpful tools for fighting misinformation in general.

Learn about and play the ‘Cranky Uncle’ game

Read The Guardian: Climate and vaccine misinformation seemed worlds apart – but it turned out the Cranky Uncle was a universal figure

Read the paper published in the Journal of Health Communication Co-Designing a mobile-based game to improve misinformation resistance and vaccine knowledge in Uganda, Kenya, and Rwanda

Save the date for MVEC's Immunisation Skills Workshop

Save the date – MVEC will be holding an Immunisation Skills Workshop in Melbourne on Friday 15 March 2024.

More details about the workshop, including information about the program and tickets, will be made available closer to the event. Registration will open in early February.

Read more at Immunisation Skills Workshop – Friday 15 March 2024