COVID19 Road to a vaccine episode 1: Professor Stanley Plotkin

In Episode 1 of our new podcast series, Associate Professor Nigel Crawford, a vaccinologist and consultant paediatrician at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) & Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH), Melbourne, talks with Stanley Plotkin, Emeritus Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania; who is well known internationally for his role in vaccine development.


  • Professor Plotkin’s role in the development of the rubella vaccine, still used throughout the world today
  • His role as the Editor in Chief of the ‘Vaccines’ textbook
  • His role in the formation of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation (CEPI) and CEPI’s current role in global COVID-19 vaccine development
  • What can we learn from the H1N1 pandemic in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine?
  • How developing a vaccine against coronaviruses is critical to the future of civilisation as economies are being destroyed by these viruses
  • Human challenge models and some of the ethical considerations we need to tackle if these sorts of trials are going to be undertaken to support COVID-19 vaccine development
  • Success can only be achieved through global collaboration in the pursuit of a COVID-19 vaccine
  • How the practical aspects of distributing a vaccine on this scale have never been faced before and the importance of thinking outside the box!



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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 播客页面 or subscribe below on your preferred podcast platform:

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Who's leading the race? A guide to coronavirus vaccines in the pipeline

This article from the ABC takes a closer look at some of the candidates in the race to making an effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. It looks at the ten vaccines currently in human trials (as at May 24, 2020). 

Different kinds of vaccines in development are also discussed, both an experimental genetic vaccine as well as a viral vector vaccine; and which stage of trials these vaccines are currently at.


ABC: Who's leading the race? A guide to coronavirus vaccines in the pipeline

Stay tuned for our latest podcast series launching this week, COVID19 Road to a vaccine. Associate Professor Nigel Crawford, Director of SAEFVIC, will be discussing the different steps involved in creating a new vaccine with global vaccine experts. 


Hepatitis A outbreak in Victoria

There is an ongoing hepatitis A outbreak in Victoria largely among people use drugs (primarily by injection) and people experiencing homelessness. According to the Department of Health, as of the 6th May 2020, there have been 56 confirmed cases and 6 possible cases associated with this outbreak since mid 2019. 

In order to control this outbreak a hepatitis A vaccination program targeting affected people groups (people who use drugs and those experiencing homelessness) will be available until the 31st August, 2020.

Hepatitis B vaccine should also be offered as hepatitis B and C have a high rate of prevalence among people who inject drugs. Influenza vaccine should also be offered. 

Read the full Department of Health advisory here: Hepatitis A outbreak


New NCIRS resource - Influenza vaccination during COVID-19 - FAQs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are at an increased risk of serious disease when they contract influenza. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever that Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander people are accessing an influenza vaccine. The influenza vaccine is funded under the National Immunisation Program for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6-months and over. 

NCIRS have created a new FAQ resource addressing questions most frequently asked by people in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community:

NCIRS: Influenza vaccination during COVID-19 - FAQs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Are children with asthma at a greater risk of severe disease with COVID-19?

The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) are conducting extensive research into why children are more mildly affected by COVID-19. They are also investigating whether chronic health conditions such as asthma increase the risk of severe disease.

Read more about how children with asthma may be affected by COVID-19 at the link below:

MCRI: COVID-19 and asthma: what are the risks for children?

COVID-19 大流行期间维持免疫服务的 ATAGI 指导原则

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


Based on prospective and retrospective studies of influenza vaccination in those with and without egg allergy (including egg anaphylaxis), the presence of egg allergy does not increase the risk of allergic reactions to the influenza vaccine and can be administered in a community immunisation setting, as a single dose, followed by the recommended 15 minute observation period. 

For further information please see the following: