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


New home for COVID-19 information

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Victoria has now moved all COVID-19 information to a new home on the Better Health Channel. Check the website for consumer and clinician information on disease prevention, testing, treatment, long covid, and special risk group advice.  

Better Health: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Victoria 

Cases of measles rising around the world

Rates of measles have been rising around the world. There were 127 cases in the United Kingdom in January 2024, leading the UK Health Security Agency to declare a National Incident. 

In Australia, there were 5 confirmed measles cases in January 2024. This includes 3 in Victoria, 1 in ACT and 1 in Queensland.  

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported a 30-fold increase in measles cases across Europe from 2022 to 2023. 

These data remind us of the importance of achieving and maintaining over 95% coverage with 2 doses of measles-containing vaccine. 

MVEC: Measles 

New Australian CDC

Australia now has its very own Centre for Disease Control (CDC). 

Headed by Prof Paul Kelly, the interim Australian CDC launched on 1 January 2024 within the Department of Health and Aged Care. The Australian CDC aims to enhance Australia’s health emergency planning and preparedness, strengthen partnerships with stakeholders and provide transparent and consistent public health advice. 

Find out more at the Australian Centre for Disease Control website. 

WHO: New polio cases in Indonesia

In December 2023, the Indonesian Ministry of Health notified WHO of two confirmed cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) in Java (Central and East). 

Two environmental samples taken in East Java were also positive for cVDPV2 in December 2023.  Four cases of cVDPV2 infection were reported earlier in 2023 in Aceh province and West Java. 

To read more, visit WHO: Disease Outbreak News 

Victorian Department of Health: Japanese encephalitis vaccine program

Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is a rare but potentially serious infection caused by the flavivirus. It is spread to humans through mosquito bites. 

Due to recent high rainfall and flooding across large areas of Victoria, the Victorian Department of Health is reminding people to take precautions against mosquito bites, and to get vaccinated if at high risk of exposure to the virus. 

Victorian Department of Health: Japanese encephalitis 

Launch of National Immunisation Program Vaccinations in Pharmacy (NIPVIP) program

The Australian government’s National Immunisation Program Vaccinations in Pharmacy (NIPVIP) program commenced on 1 January 2024. 

The NIPVIP allows individuals aged 5 years and over to receive scheduled NIP vaccines in a community pharmacy at no financial cost. 

Read more about NIPVIP on the Department of Health and Aged Care website and the Pharmacy Programs Administrator website. 

TGA: New RSV vaccine

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is one of the leading causes of respiratory tract infections in young children and is associated with severe respiratory disease in people aged over 60 years. 

In January 2024, AREXVY was registered by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for the immunisation of people aged 60 years and older to prevent lower respiratory tract disease caused by RSV. AREXVY is a recombinant respiratory syncytial virus pre-fusion F protein vaccine. Guidance on its use is yet to come. 

TGA: Guidance and resources on AREXVY