Coronavirus (COVID-19) and children in Australia

Your kids are hearing about coronavirus (COVID-19). The Raising Children Network (Australia) has developed a useful resource to ensure they get reliable information.

Here are some tips on how to talk about it: COVID-19 and children in Australia

Statement on school closures in Victoria; a Department of Health announcement

The Department of Health has released a statement made by Dr Brett Sutton, the Victorian Chief Medical Officer, on the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and school closures in Victoria

You can read the announcement here DHHS Vic: Education sector and COVID-19

When should I get the flu vaccine, and does coronavirus change things?

With the presence of coronavirus in Australia, people are wondering whether they need to get the flu vaccine early this year. 

According to ABC News the flu vaccine won't combat COVID-19, however, it does reduce the severity and spread of seasonal influenza, as contacting influenza can lower a person's immunity and make them more susceptible to other illnesses. 

Timing is important with the flu vaccine. it is important to be protected when the flu season starts and also several months later, when flu activity peaks. To ensure the highest level of protection during peak flu season, the Department of Health recommends people get vaccinated from mid April. 

Read the full article here:

ABC News: When should I get the flu vaccine, and does coronavirus change things? 

Worried about your child getting coronavirus? Here’s what you need to know

As the number of cases of COVID-19 increases, parents are understandably concerned. See the article here to find out what we know so far about how children are affected: The conversation - Worried about your child getting coronavirus? Here’s what you need to know.
A vaccine against COVID-19 is some way off. In the interim, it’s strongly recommended getting your child vaccinated against influenza.
For further information regarding the Influenza vaccine please refer to: Early advice on 2020 National Immunisation Program Seasonal Influenza Vaccination.

Early advice on 2020 National Immunisation Program seasonal influenza vaccination

Australia's Chief Medical Officer has released a statement providing early advice for vaccination providers on the 2020 seasonal influenza vaccines available through the National Immunisation Program. 

Chief Medical Officer letter - Early advice for the 2020 influenza season and ATAGI statement

News article for Health Care Providers - 2020 seasonal influenza vaccines

'Get the facts about immunisation' - Launch of the 2020 childhood immunisation education campaign

The Governments ‘Get the Facts about Immunisation’ campaign supports parents of children aged 0-5 years and expectant parents in their decision making about childhood vaccinations.

The 2020 phase of the campaign builds upon the success of previous phases with a focus on the importance of vaccinating on time, the protection provided by vaccination, as well as continuing to address concerns around vaccine safety.

The campaign continues to address vaccination uptake in at-risk populations through supplementary targeted media and public relations materials developed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents and culturally and linguistically diverse audiences.

The 8 week campaign commenced 16 February 2020 and will feature across national television for the first time for greater reach, supported by supported by search, social, online and out-of-home channels.

To find out more and access the campaign materials including posters, brochures and videos, visit the Childhood Immunisation Education Campaign website, ‘Get the facts about immunisation’.

Coronavirus: What are viruses? And how do they spread?

Dr Rosalind Eggo of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine explains in this video from the BBC how viruses like the recently-detected coronavirus can spread globally. 

BBC: What are viruses? And how do they spread?

No herd immunity: MenB vaccine 'fails' in school trial

A major study conducted in South Australia with almost 35000 participants has failed to show any discernible difference on herd immunity or throat carriage of Neisseria meningitidis

The study was led by vaccinologist Professor Helen Marshall, who was pleased the vaccine afforded a high level of protection among participants, with no cases of meningococcal disease occuring during the study, compared with 12 cases in the same age group in the two years prior. 

Alongside these findings, results of a UK study were published, estimating adjusted vaccine effectiveness to be 59% with a two-dose infant priming schedule plus a booster at 12 months of age since their publicly funded infant immunisation schedule began using the 4CMenB vaccine in 2015. 

Read the full article here:

AusDoc.Plus: No herd immunity: MenB vaccine 'fails' in school trial 

For further information about meningococcal vaccines, please refer to our Meningococcal disease and vaccines page



Influenza vaccine update for children under 3 years

FluQuadri (0.5 mL) can now be administered to infants and children from 6 months of age - see our updated reference page for details.

Influenza Vaccine Recommendations

Measles in Samoa: how a small island nation found itself in the grips of an outbreak disaster


Samoa's measles crisis continues. As of December 12, there have been 4,995 confirmed cases of measles and 72 deaths. With increasing vaccination coverage the situation is slowly improving.

The following article by Katherine Gibney may help to provide some clarification as to how this disaster occurred.

The Conversation: Measles in Samoa: how a small island nation found itself in the grips of an outbreak disaster 


For further information about measles, please refer to our MVEC page:  Measles