Special MVEC podcast series: COVID19 Road to a vaccine

The year 2020 has seen the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID19), a unique and potentially devastating virus, with no known prevention or treatment. This new SARS-2 virus has shown to not only have significant international health implications, but also immense psychological and economic impacts. Associate Professor Nigel Crawford, a vaccinologist and consultant paediatrician at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) & Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH), Melbourne, will delve into the global pursuit of a safe and effective vaccine to prevent COVID19. This is all occurring at ‘pandemic speed’ and MVEC’s new podcast will explore this complicated and multi-faceted process through interviews with a variety of national and international vaccine experts.

In our first few episodes, we will be talking with vaccine experts Emeritus Professor Stanley Plotkin, Professor Kathryn Edwards and Professor Andrew Pollard. 

Listen via our podcast page or subscribe below on your preferred podcast platform:

Spreaker - Apple podcasts - Spotify podcasts 


ATAGI guiding principles for maintaining immunisation services during the COVID-19 pandemic

Immunisation remains an essential service during the COVID-19 pandemic and it is very important immunisation providers maintain routine immunisation services whilst complying with measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

If scheduled vaccines are missed or delayed and the overall vaccination coverage rates drop, the risk of a resurgence of a well-controlled vaccine preventable disease like measles is increased. If this happens during or after the current pandemic, it places further stress on the health care system.

With this  in mind, ATAGI (Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation) have released guiding principles on maintaining immunisation services during the COVID-19 pandemic:

ATAGI: Guiding principles for maintaining immunisation services during the COVID-19 pandemic


New podcast: COVID-19 and children featuring Associate Professor Nigel Crawford

Associate Professor Nigel Crawford is interviewed by Dr Harry Nespolon, GP and RACGP president on Healthed Australia's Going Viral podcast. They discuss COVID-19 and children and cover the following:

  • Are children super-spreaders, asymptomatic shedders?
  • Transmission at school and home – what do we know?
  • Febrile child – should I suspect COVID-19?
  • Childcare considerations
  • Flu co-infection and vaccination
  • Newborns and vertical transmission

You can listen to the podcast here:

Healthed Australia: Going Viral Episode 27: Children, newborns and transmission; childcare considerations; flu co-infection and vaccination


Clinical trial of BCG vaccine against COVID-19 (BRACE)

Led by Professor Nigel Curtis, Researchers at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute are conducting a randomised controlled clinical trial of the BCG vaccine against COVID-19. The study, known as the BRACE trial (BCG vaccination to Reduce the impact of COVID-19 in Australian healthcare workers following Coronavirus Exposure), has been endorsed by the Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Designed to provide protection against tuberculosis, the Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine may also potentially provide immunity to protect against other infections. The purpose of the BRACE trial is to investigate whether or not BCG vaccination protects against COVID-19 or reduces the severity of symptoms of COVID-19 in healthcare workers.

This has led to people who do not meet the criteria for the trial seeking to have the BCG vaccine.

MVEC and physician BCG experts, have reached a consensus position on this issue, as detailed below:

We strongly advise against anyone having BCG outside of a clinical trial, unless they meet criteria as per the Australian Immunisation Handbook tuberculosis guidelines.

BCG vaccine is known to be effective in protecting young children from tuberculosis, and has been affected by global shortages in recent years.  Using a vaccine (like BCG), for a non-proven use, carries risks to those vaccinated and those who prescribe it. Furthermore, additional use of BCG vaccine outside a trial, could lead to shortages for infants who need it to protect against tuberculosis. Many travel clinics providing BCG have been placed on-hold due to the current limitations on overseas travel.  However, travel and hospital-based BCG clinics will aim to increase access to the vaccine when travel restrictions (including to tuberculosis endemic countries) are lifted.

Authorised by:

  • Dr Nigel Curtis, Dr Nigel Crawford, Dr Jim Buttery, Dr Shidan Tosif, Dr Daryl Cheng and Dr Teresa Lazzaro
    -8th April 2020

Resources:


Telethon Kids provide COVID-19 resources for parents, families and schools

The Telethon Kids Institute have created resources for parents, families and schools in which their experts provide up to date advice and address community concerns (including a video Q & A session from kids in the community). 

Their information is reliable, current and based on the best-available evidence.

You can view their resources at:

Telethon Kids: COVID-19