What is it?

‘The Science of Immunisation’ was first published in 2012 and aims to address confusion created by inconsistent information found in public sources such as searching ‘Google’. It details the current situation in immunisation science, including where there is agreement in the scientific community and where the answers aren’t clear.

This document summarises and clarifies the current understanding of immunisation around six key questions:

  1. What is immunisation?
  2. What is a vaccine?
  3. Who benefits from vaccines?
  4. Are vaccines safe?
  5. How are vaccines shown to be safe?
  6. What does the future hold for vaccination?

Is it a reputable source of information and is the information current?

Yes. It was published in November 2012 by the Australian Academy of Science.

Answers to the questions were reviewed by a committee of experts including:

  • Professor Gus Nossal who is an internationally renowned scientist and has been a significant figure in Australia’s medical and scientific community. He was Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (1965-1996), Professor of Medical Biology at the University of Melbourne and President of the Australian Academy of Science.
  • Professor Fiona Stanley who is the Founding Director and Patron of the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research and Distinguished Research Professor, School of Paediatrics & Child Health at the University of Western Australia.  She was named Australian of the Year in 2003 and in 2006.

The publication has been endorsed by

  • The Royal Australasian College of Physicians
  • The Australian Medical Association


Author: Rachael McGuire (Research Nurse, SAEFVIC, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute)

Date: February 2018

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.