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. 

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

NDTV speak to Professor Kanta Subbarao, Director of WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza

NDTV have spoken to Professor Kanta Subbarao, Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre For Reference And Research On Influenza in Melbourne, Australia about the race for a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and the possibility of developing herd immunity.
Watch the video interview here:
In June, we spoke to Professor Subbarao in our COVID19 Road to a vaccine podcast series, access the episode here:

Questions and answers about COVID-19 vaccines

The Vaccine Education Center (VEC) at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHoP) has recently launched a new resource page answering common questions related to the development and safety of COVID-19 vaccines. Readers are also encouraged to submit their own questions directly to the VEC team for response.

To access this initiative please follow the link here

Coronavirus vaccine progress report: the projects bidding to win the race for a COVID-19 vaccine

With over 140 vaccine candidates in various stages of development globally, the ABC has taken a look at the role that Australian researchers are playing in the effort to produce a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19. 

ABC: Coronavirus vaccine progress:the projects bidding to win the race for a COVID-19 vaccine 

To further explore the COVID-19 vaccine development process and hear from a variety of national and international experts, please subscribe to our podcast series:
COVID-19 Road to a vaccine 

The International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities (ICMRA) statement about confidence in vaccine safety and effectiveness

In a global effort to promote confidence in the safety of vaccines, the International Coalition of Medicines Regulatory Authorities (ICMRA) have released new documentation explaining the scientific evaluation process undertaken by vaccine candidates prior to licensing, as well as discussing the ongoing safety surveillance that continues after they have been approved for use. These documents are targeted for both health care professionals as well as consumers.

Read more here:

ICMRA statement about confidence in vaccine safety and effectiveness (for healthcare professionals)

ICMRA statement about confidence in vaccines (for the general public)


Zostavax safety advisory

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) have reiterated their advice that Zostavax should not be administered to immunocompromised individuals as it is associated with a risk of mild-serious complications. This advice follows a report of a new case of a patient who was taking hydroxychloroquine and a low dose of prednisolone who died three weeks after receiving the Zostavax vaccine. Whilst it was found that the Zostavax was administered in line with existing recommendations it is important that health professionals are aware of the potential of this kind of very rare adverse event. 

Read more here:

TGA: Zostavax vaccine 

And for more information on Zoster and to access the Zostavax GP Decision Aid refer to the MVEC: Zoster immunisation reference page. 

National immunisation catch-up calculator v1.0 now available

The Australian Government Department of Health have released the first version of the National Immunisation Catch-up Calculator (NICC). It is available on the Australian Immunisation Handbook website and replaces the immunisation calculator hosted by the South Australian Department of Health. 

You can access the NICC here:

National Immunisation Catch-up Calculator