Since the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 in late 2019, COVID-19 has taken a huge toll globally with over 100 million cases and 2.5 million deaths, as well as long term health impacts and the wide ranging consequences of lockdowns. The rapid development of multiple vaccines globally has been a tremendous success story for public health. However, it can prove challenging to stay up to date with the increasing literature on various aspects of these vaccines.

The COVID-19 weekly vaccine update summarises the data available on COVID-19 vaccines and includes: the specifications of COVID-19 vaccines, vaccine efficacy and effectiveness including against variants of concern; comorbidities and the elderly; vaccine safety; the pipeline for vaccine development; and the WHO SAGE timeline for vaccine authorisation. Each week, the document is updated and contains newly released information on the vaccines.

Who we circulate to and why

The document was compiled in collaboration with the WHO South Pacific Division of Pacific Technical Support (DPS). The main target audience is government of Pacific Islands countries, WHO country offices, UNICEF and development partners. The distribution list includes many individuals working in public health, public health associations and media organisations.

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Alternatively you can access updates (as well as the historical versions) via COVID-19 weekly vaccine update.

Who the authors are

The document is compiled by Dr John Hart, a research clinician at MCRI. Expert oversight is provided by Professor Fiona Russell and Professor Kim Mulholland. Fiona Russell is Senior Principal Research Fellow, Centre for International Child Health, The University of Melbourne; and Group Leader, Asia-Pacific Health, MCRI; and sits on the WHO DPS Joint Incident Management Team COVID-19 Vaccine Pillar group to provide technical support for Pacific Island Countries. Kim Mulholland is Professor of Child Health and Vaccinology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; and Professorial Fellow at MCRI. Quality checks are conducted by Professor Julie Bines, Associate Professor Nigel Crawford and Associate Professor Margie Danchin. Julie Bines leads the RV3 Rotavirus Vaccine Program and is the inaugural Victor and Loti Smorgon Professor of Paediatrics and Deputy Head of Department of Paediatrics at the University of Melbourne. Nigel Crawford is director of SAEFVIC (Surveillance of Adverse Events Following Vaccination in the Community), a vaccine safety and clinical immunisation research group based at MCRI. Margie Danchin has extensive experience in vaccine research and is Group Leader, Vaccine acceptance, Uptake and Policy, at MCRI.

Authors: Dr John Hart (Research Clinician, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute)

Date: March 2021

Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre (MVEC) staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy.

You should not consider the information in this site to be specific, professional medical advice for your personal health or for your family’s personal health. For medical concerns, including decisions about vaccinations, medications and other treatments, you should always consult a healthcare professional.