ABC: A surge in influenza cases in Queensland prompts doctors to issue vaccine warning for children and vulnerable groups

Experts warn that children are increasingly more vulnerable to influenza disease this year. MVEC’s paediatric infectious disease specialist Dr Angela Berkhout explains that children, particularly those under two years of age have low levels of natural immunity to flu as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.  

While flu season has yet to peak, hospitals in Queensland have already experienced an influx in the number of flu patients requiring hospital admission, including intensive care. This article explores key considerations for vaccinating children, seniors over the age of 65 years and other vulnerable groups.  

To read the full article, follow the link below:  

ABC: A surge in influenza cases in Queensland prompts doctors to issue vaccine warning for children and vulnerable groups

For the more information on influenza vaccines and the 2022 influenza season please see our resources below: 

MVEC: Influenza 

MVEC: Influenza FAQs

 


NCIRS Webinar - Living with COVID-19: Getting back to immunisation business as usual

NCIRS will be hosting a webinar on Thursday 3 March featuring a panel of expert speakers including MVEC’s A/Prof Nigel Crawford. The topic for the webinar is Living with COVID-19: Getting back to immunisation business as usual and will cover: 

  • an update on Australian COVID‑19 vaccine recommendations 
  • COVID-19 and routine immunisation programs regionally and globally – what’s needed 
  • new COVID-19 vaccines – do we need to change our strategy in response to new variants? 

Further information and details on registration can be found via the link below:
NCIRS Webinar -  Living with COVID-19: Getting back to immunisation business as usual


MVEC animation: The Road to a COVID-19 Vaccine

With Australia looking towards a COVID-19 vaccine program beginning in early 2021, MVEC have created the following animation for sharing with a wider audience, to help explain the process of developing a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine in a compressed timeframe.

For more information on the vaccine development process please refer to our immunisation reference page here.

For information on the provisional vaccine registration pathway in Australia please refer to our reference page here.


Contain This: A new podcast by the Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security

"Contain This" is a podcast produced by the Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security looking at global health security trends. The Centre has recently kicked off a new series on COVID-19 vaccines as it plans the $500 million Regional Vaccine Access and Health Security Initiative targeting Southeast Asian and Pacific island countries.

To listen to discussion on topics such as vaccine uptake, financing, priority groups, as well as safety and efficacy, please refer to the link below:

Contain This: The Latest In Global Health Security


MVEC Vodcast series - COVID-19 vaccines

As 2020 draws to a close there is optimism that a safe and effective vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) will soon be approved to control the pandemic. With over 200 vaccine candidates currently in various stages of clinical trials across the globe, Australia has signed advance purchase agreements with 4 different vaccines.

In our 3-part vodcast series, COVID-19 vaccines, Dr Daryl Cheng and Dr Daniela Say discuss how it is possible to develop a vaccine in such a compressed timeline, the various vaccine platforms being utilised in clinical trials and their individual advantages and disadvantages, as well as the different priority groups to be offered immunisation. Daryl and Daniela touch on the preliminary results from clinical trials and what they show us in terms of vaccine safety and effectiveness, as well as discuss the ongoing safety monitoring that will occur even once a vaccine has been approved for use.

You can view the vodcasts via the link below:

MVEC: Vaccine vodcasts

 


Final episode of COVID19 Road to a vaccine: Professor Walter Orenstein

In the final episode of this podcast series our host, Associate Professor Nigel Crawford, speaks with Professor Walter Orenstein. Dr Orenstein is a Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, Global Health and Paediatrics at Emory University; Associate Director of the Emory Vaccine Center and the Director of Emory Vaccine Policy and Development. An expert in vaccinology, Dr Orenstein has worked at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Director of the United States Immunisation Program and is a current member of several WHO groups. Further to this he is the co-editor of the vaccine textbook, Plotkin’s Vaccines, 7th edition. In this episode they discuss:

  • Lessons that can be learnt from Plotkin’s Vaccines in the setting of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and development of vaccines
  • Recent press releases showing promising early results from two mRNA COVID-19 vaccine candidates developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna
  • The critical role of ongoing monitoring for safety and effectiveness of vaccines once they are in use
  • The likely highest priority groups when vaccines do become available
  • The role of children in SARS-CoV-2 transmission and whether or not they need to be vaccinated
  • The importance of a correlate of protection in SARS-CoV-2 vaccines
  • The need to monitor for vaccine associated enhanced disease (VAED)
  • The importance of immunisation providers supporting reports of adverse events following immunisation (AEFI)
  • The importance of communication in supporting vaccine acceptance and uptake
  • Key next steps on the road to a COVID-19 vaccine: a better understanding of how many doses are required and when, a prioritisation process so the vaccines can be used most effectively (with a clear allocation system); and communicating to the public that social distancing and wearing a mask will be ongoing for some time as a level of normality won’t be reached immediately, even with the exciting new efficacious COVID-19 vaccines

Links:

You can listen to the episode here:

Spreaker - Apple - Spotify


Vaccine Vodcasts

As 2020 draws to a close there is optimism that a safe and effective vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) will soon be approved to control the pandemic. In our 3-part vodcast series, we discuss how it is possible to develop a vaccine in such a compressed timeline, the various vaccine platforms being utilised and their individual advantages and disadvantages, as well as the different priority groups to be offered immunisation. We will explore the preliminary results from clinical trials, as well as discuss the ongoing safety monitoring that will occur even once a vaccine has been approved for use.


COVID19 Road to a vaccine episode 17: How the COVID-19 pandemic is being managed in British Columbia, Canada, with Dr Bonnie Henry

In episode 17 of our COVID19 Road to a vaccine series, our host, Associate Professor Nigel Crawford, speaks to Dr Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer (PHO) for the Province of BC in Canada. As the PHO Bonnie is leading the province’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bonnie has been in this role since the beginning of 2018 and prior to this was the deputy PHO for three years. She specialises in public health and preventative medicine, and has a background working with the World Health Organisation and UNICEF polio eradication program in Pakistan and with the WHO during the Ebola outbreak in Uganda. She has experience leading responses to SARS, the H1N1 pandemic and the overdose emergency in BC. Bonnie is an associate professor at the University of British Columbia, Faculty of Medicine and is a member of the Canadian National Advisory Committee on Immunisation. She and Nigel discuss the following:

  • Bonnie’s current role leading BC’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • What she learnt from the 2003 SARS outbreak and how this experience and knowledge can be applied to the current pandemic such as the importance of contact tracing, managing outbreaks and the importance of communicating with the public
  • The role COVID-19 vaccines will play in Canada and challenges that will need to be faced such as logistics, ensuring adequate safety profiles, determining priority groups to be immunised first and protecting indigenous communities
  • The critical importance of monitoring for adverse events following immunisation

Links:

You can listen to the episode here:

Spreaker - Apple - Spotify 


COVID19 Road to a vaccine episode 16: COVID-19 vaccine candidates regulatory process update with Professor Norman Baylor

In episode 16 of our COVID19 Road to a vaccine series, our host, Associate Professor Nigel Crawford speaks once again with Professor Norman Baylor. Professor Baylor is the former Director of the Office of Vaccines Research and Review Center at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is the President and CEO of Biologics Consulting and current advisor to the WHO.

In this episode they discuss:

  • The recent FDA Vaccines and related biological products advisory committee meeting which was, as is customary, open to the public
  • The huge amount countries like Australia can learn from the transparency of these open forums
  • What vaccine efficacy thresholds are and what they have been set at for COVID-19 vaccine candidates in the USA
  • Including children and special risk groups such as pregnant women in clinical trials
  • Potential for confusion when more than one COVID-19 vaccine becomes available with varying levels of efficacy
  • The ongoing collection of data to monitor vaccine safety and effectiveness
  • Pauses or clinical holds being a normal part of clinical trials
  • The importance of communication from regulatory bodies as COVID-19 vaccines become available

Links:

Download the episode at:

Spreaker - Apple - Spotify 


COVID19 Road to a vaccine episode 15: Professor Lynn Gillam

In episode 15, our host, Associate Professor Nigel Crawford, speaks to Professor Lynn Gillam. Lynn is a clinical ethicist who trained in philosophy and bioethics. She is a Professor in the Centre for Health Equity, in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne; and the Academic Director of The Children’s Bioethics Centre at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. The Children’s Bioethics Centre provides support including ethical decision making for clinicians in relation to patient care issues. Nigel and Lynn will discuss some of the ethical issues raised in the setting of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, utilising a framework of points raised by Dr John Lantos from the Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, USA, at the recent Bioethics E-Conference hosted by The Children’s Bioethics Centre:

  • The importance of realising that not doing something or not conducting research is a decision in itself
  • The notion of “too fast can’t be safe” – some steps need to take the time they have always taken, some things can be done more quickly, recognising that if you do nothing, you are allowing harm to happen
  • The role of ethical boards and the way vaccines are developed, i.e. the use of younger, healthier participants in research, not the individuals who are getting the worst disease
  • The involvement of children and elderly people in clinical trials and the key differences in the ethical considerations of this
  • Global equity of access to SARS-CoV-2 vaccines when they become available, who gets them first and how should these decisions be made?
  • The role of Citizens’ Juries in deciding who has priority of access to vaccines in a pandemic situation
  • Mandatory vaccination
  • The use of foetal embryonic cell lines in vaccine development

Links

Listen to the episode here:

Spreaker - Apple - Spotify