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Awareness weeks guide

World Immunisation Week

World Immunisation week

24-30 April 2024

World Immunization Week, celebrated in the last week of April, aims to highlight the collective action needed and to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. Through its convening power, WHO works with countries across the globe to raise awareness of the value of vaccines and immunization and ensures that governments obtain the necessary guidance and technical support to implement high quality immunization programmes. The ultimate goal of World Immunization Week is for more people – and their communities – to be protected from vaccine-preventable diseases. World Health Organisation


Adolescents and paediatrics



Cochrane Library


Online resources


Community engagement




Vaccine hesitancy





Community engagement

Using World Cafés to engage an Australian culturally and linguistically diverse community around human papillomavirus vaccination
These findings further knowledge around ‘public trust’ in school vaccination, highlighting the importance of existing (or missing) trust relationships when tailoring vaccine communication to local CALD communities.  Health expectations 16 February 2023

Provision of and trust in COVID-19 vaccines information: Perspectives of people who have had COVID-19
Different characteristics of people who had COVID-19 and sought information were identified, which is important to offer tailored information. People who had COVID-19 in this study, mainly middle-aged, vaccinated and highly educated, were generally positive about the vaccines information, but overall the reliability and clarity could be improved. This is important for a high vaccination uptake, booster programs and coming pandemics. Health expectations 3 February 2023

Testing psychological inoculation to reduce reactance to vaccine-related communication
Research has found that vaccine-promoting messages can elicit state reactance (i.e., negative emotions in response to a perceived threat to behavioral freedom), especially among individuals with high trait reactance (i.e., proneness to experiencing reactance). This can result in a lower willingness to accept vaccines. The authors investigated whether inoculation against reactance – that is, forewarning individuals about potentially experiencing reactance – can reduce the effects of trait reactance on vaccination willingness. Health communication 7 March 2024

Effects of message framing and narrative format on promoting persuasive conversations with others about the Flu vaccine
This study examines the effects of message framing (loss vs. gain) and format (narrative vs. expository) on intentions to discuss flu vaccination with a close social referent. Health communications 23 September 2023

Text vs patient portal messaging to improve influenza vaccination coverage: A health system–wide randomized clinical trial
At the population level, neither portal nor text reminders for influenza vaccination were effective. Given that vaccine hesitancy may be a major reason for the lack of impact of portal or text reminders, more intensive interventions by health systems are needed to raise influenza vaccination coverage levels. JAMA 18 March 2024



The impact of triple doses vaccination and other interventions for controlling the outbreak of COVID-19 cases and mortality in Australia: A modelling study
Regarding the policy of single intervention, the fastest and most efficient way to lower the incidence of COVID-19 is via increasing the first-dose immunization rate, while an improved treatment rate for the afflicted population is also helps to lower mortality in Australia. Furthermore, the results imply that integrating more therapies at the same time increases their efficacy, particularly for mortality, which significantly reduced with a moderate effort, while lowering the number of COVID-19 instances necessitates a major and ongoing commitment. Heliyon 10 February 2024

‘Getting the vaccine makes me a champion of it’: Exploring perceptions towards peer-to-peer communication about the COVID-19 vaccines amongst Australian adults
During emergency situations, governments and other relevant community organisations should consider harnessing peer-to-peer communication amongst motivated individuals as a health communication intervention. However further work is needed to understand the support that this constituent-involving strategy requires. Health expectations 3 May 2023

Labelling, shadow bans and community resistance: did meta's strategy to suppress rather than remove COVID misinformation and conspiracy theory on Facebook slow the spread?
In this paper, the authors ask how effective Meta's content moderation strategy was on its flagship platform, Facebook, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results show that Meta's content moderation systems were partially effective, with previously high-performing pages showing steady decline. Nonetheless, some pages not only slipped through the net but overperformed, proving this strategy to be piecemeal and inconsistent. The analysis identifies trends that content labelling and ‘shadow banning’ accounts was resisted by these communities, who employed tactics to stay engaged on Facebook, while migrating some conversations to less moderated platforms. Media international Australia 13 March 2024

Perceptions of COVID-19 Vaccines: Lessons from selected populations who experience discrimination in the Australian healthcare system
COVID-19 vaccination is particularly challenging among populations who have experienced discrimination in healthcare settings. This paper presents qualitative findings from in-depth interviews about COVID-19 vaccination conducted in Australia between October 2020 and November 2021. Health & social care in the community  17 August 2023

Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine journey: progress and future perspectives
COVID-19 vaccines have played a pivotal role in reducing SARS-CoV-2 disease severity and mortality. However, evolutionary pressure has resulted in viral variants with increased fitness, greater capacity for immune evasion and higher infectivity. This evolution is exemplified by the emergence of the Omicron subvariants, all of which demonstrate significant escape from vaccine- or infection-induced immunity. Broadly protective vaccines are urgently needed to fight current, emerging and future SARS-CoV-2 variants. Australia is actively contributing to these efforts through the development of innovative vaccination approaches and vaccine delivery platforms. Microbiology Australia 15 March 2024

Effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination against COVID-19 specific and all-cause mortality in older Australians: a population based study
COVID-19 vaccination is highly effective against COVID-19 mortality among older adults although effectiveness wanes with time since the last dose. Our findings emphasise the importance of continuing to administer booster doses, particularly to those at highest risk. The Lancet regional health – Western Pacific 7 October 2023

Discretion in decision to receive COVID-19 vaccines and associated socio-economic inequalities in rates of uptake: a whole-of-population data linkage study from Australia
Education-related inequalities in uptake were larger where discretion in decisions was larger. Policies that limited discretion in decisions to receive vaccines may have contributed to achieving the dual aims of maximising uptake and minimising inequalities. Public health 21 September 2024



Public values to guide childhood vaccination mandates: A report on four Australian community juries
This paper gives policymakers access to the reasons that Australians have for supporting or opposing different mandates under conditions of high knowledge, understanding and deliberation regarding policy options. Sustaining high rates of vaccination requires high levels of co-operation between governments, public health actors and the public. Our findings highlight the importance of considering public values in the design and implementation of vaccination mandates. Health expectations 28 December 2023

Immunization coverage and factors associated with failure to complete childhood immunization
While there has been progress in immunization coverage, significant barriers remain, particularly among children from low socioeconomic backgrounds and families with lower levels of parental education. Addressing these challenges through targeted public health interventions and enhanced community awareness is essential for improving immunization coverage and protecting children against vaccine-preventable diseases. Journal of health and rehabilitation research 24 February 2024

Adverse events following immunisation: Prospective cohort study evaluating Australian children presenting to specialist immunisation clinics

  • Specialist immunisation clinics facilitate safe childhood vaccination practices.
  • The majority of post review adverse events are non serious.
  • Prior serious adverse events are unlikely to recur.
  • Underlying neurological conditions predispose to post vaccination seizures.
  • Family history of adverse event is not associated with adverse event occurrence.

Vaccine 15 March 2024

Pertussis immunisation strategies to optimise infant pertussis control: A narrative systematic review
Comparing schedules is challenging and there was insufficient evidence to that one schedule was superior to another. Countries must select a schedule that maintains high vaccine coverage and reduced the risk of delaying the delivery vaccines to protect infants. Vaccine 22 September 2022

Respiratory syncytial virus disease morbidity in Australian infants aged 0 to 6 months: a systematic review with narrative synthesis
Qualitative analysis of the included studies showed that Australian infants aged 0 to 6 months have higher rates of RSV testing, positivity and incidence; and more likely to develop severe disease that requires hospitalisation, intensive care unit admission or respiratory support, compared to children and adults of all ages. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants aged 0 to 6 months demonstrated higher rates of RSV infection and hospitalisation, compared to non-Indigenous infants. Age-related trends persisted in geographic areas with varying seasonal transmission of RSV, and during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Passive immunisation strategies targeting infants in their first 6 months of life, either via vaccination of pregnant women or administration of long-acting monoclonal antibody during infancy, could effectively reduce RSV disease burden in Australia. BMC public health 21 December 2023



Empowering our First Nations workforce: evaluation of a First Nations COVID-19 vaccination training program
The successful implementation of the vaccination training project was an example of First Nations led health care. Improving scope of practice for First Nations health staff can improve not just career retention and progression but also the delivery of primary care to a community that continues to bear the inequity of poorer health outcomes. Australian journal of primary health 18 December 2023

Understanding the impact of adult pertussis and current approaches to vaccination: A narrative review and expert panel recommendations
Pertussis has several notable consequences, causing economic burden, increased strain on healthcare facilities, and reductions in quality of life. Recent years have seen a trend toward an increase in pertussis cases affecting older children and adults. To boost immunity, and protect vulnerable populations, an enduring approach to vaccination has been proposed, but gaps remain in the evidence surrounding adult vaccination that are needed to inform such a policy. Gaps include: the true incidence of pertussis and its complications in adults; regional variations in disease recognition and reporting; and incidence of severe disease, hospitalizations, and deaths in older adults. Better data on the efficacy/effectiveness of pertussis vaccination in adults, duration of protection, and factors leading to poor vaccine uptake are needed. Addressing the critical evidence gaps will help highlight important areas of unmet need and justify the importance of adult pertussis vaccination to healthcare professionals, policymakers, and payers. Human vaccines & immunotherapeutics 2 April 2024

Medical exemptions to mandatory vaccinations: The state of play in Australia and a pressure point to watch
Australia’s mandatory vaccination policies have historically allowed for non-medical exemptions (NMEs), but this changed in 2016 when the Federal Government discontinued NMEs for childhood vaccination requirements. Australian states introduced further mandatory vaccination policies during the COVID-19 pandemic for a range of occupations including healthcare workers (HCWs). There is global evidence to suggest that medical exemptions (MEs) increase following the discontinuation of NMEs; the new swathe of COVID-19 mandatory vaccination policies likely also placed further pressure on ME systems in many jurisdictions. This paper examines the state of play of mandatory vaccination and ME policies in Australia by outlining the structure and operation of these policies for childhood vaccines, then for COVID-19, with a case study of HCW mandates. Next, the paper explores HCWs’ experiences in providing vaccine exemptions to patients (and MEs in particular). Finally, the paper synthesizes existing literature and reflects on the challenges of MEs as a pressure point for people who do not want to vaccinate and for the clinicians who care for them, proposing areas for future research and action. Epidemiology and Infection 22 February 2024

Assessing the impact of chickenpox and shingles vaccination using intermittent enhanced surveillance in Queensland, Australia

  • Reports of varicella-zoster virus infections in Queensland have increased in the last 12 years.
  • The increase in varicella-zoster virus notifications is due to shingles in older age-groups.
  • Notification rates have declined among age-specific cohorts eligible for childhood chickenpox and adult shingles vaccines.
  • Routine age-group specific and targeted, intermittent enhanced surveillance is useful to understand vaccine impact.

Vaccines 7 December 2023

Maternal vaccine effectiveness against influenza-associated hospitalizations and emergency department visits in infants
The findings in this study indicate that maternal influenza vaccination during pregnancy provided important protection for the infant in the first few months of life before infants are eligible for vaccination. JAMA 18 December 2023

Yellow fever – An old foe with new developments
Health care providers in northern Australia should be aware of the risks of yellow fever and its introduction to northern Australia and be able to discuss vaccination status with their clients when needed. The Australian journal of rural health 20 March 2024

Resurgent global measles: A threat to Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island Countries
Measles is a highly contagious vaccine-preventable infectious disease that remains an important global health threat. World-wide there has been a resurgence in measles case numbers during 2023, posing an imminent threat to Australasia. Journal of paediatrics and child health 1 March 2024

Vaccination recommendations for pregnant people travelling overseas
Vaccination for travel during pregnancy is fundamental in mitigating maternal and fetal communicable disease morbidity and mortality. This clinical perspective provides an overview of the indications, safety, and recommendations for pre-travel vaccines in pregnancy. Australian and New Zealand journal of obstetrics and gynaecology 23 October 2023

Prior pneumococcal vaccination improves in-hospital mortality among elderly population hospitalized due to community-acquired pneumonia
Among elderly hospitalized CAP patients, prior pneumococcal vaccination was associated with improved in-hospital mortality and 30-day mortality. BMC pulmonary medicine 8 April 2024

Nonstructural barriers to adult vaccination
Taking a patient centered prevention approach will help protect adults and ease the burden of vaccine-preventable disease. Human vaccines & immunotherapeutics 17 April 2024


Vaccine hesitancy

Vaccine hesitancy educational tools for healthcare providers and trainees: A scoping review
In the era of vaccine hesitancy, highlighted by the current SARS-CoV2 pandemic, there is an acute need to develop an approach to reduce and address apprehension towards vaccinations. The authors sought to map and present an overview of existing educational interventions for healthcare providers (HCPs) on strategies to engage in effective vaccine discussion. Vaccine 4 January 2023

Convergence on coercion: Functional and political pressures as drivers of global childhood vaccine mandate
In four recent cases of high-income jurisdictions making childhood vaccination policies more coercive, vaccine hesitancy alone could not explain why the policies arose in these jurisdictions and not others, while path dependency alone could not explain why some jurisdictions with mandates made them more coercive. Explanation lies in restrictive mandates being attractive for governments, whether they face systemic functional problems in vaccine governance, or political pressures generated by media and activists. Mandates can be framed as targeting whole populations or localised groups of refusers, and implemented without onerous costs or policy complexity. International journal of health policy management 5 April 2022

Popular among distrustful youth? Social media influencers’ communication about COVID-19 and young people’s risk perceptions and vaccination intentions
During the COVID-19 crisis, many social media influencers (SMIs) discussed the pandemic on their channels and showcased their behavior in dealing with the virus. Drawing on the two-step flow of communication and social learning theory, we investigated the attitudinal and behavioral consequences of SMIs’ COVID-19-related communication in a two-wave panel survey among emerging adults aged 16–21 years (NT1 = 978, NT2 = 415). Our results contribute to the health communication literature by discovering that institutional mistrust determines whether young people resort to SMIs as an information source for COVID-19-related information. Those with higher mistrust in established media organizations and the government were more likely to consult SMIs for COVID-19-related information and to consider them as role models when exposed to relevant content. Moreover, consulting SMIs who promote noncompliance as a COVID-19 information source was over time related to lower vaccination intentions. Health communications 15 December 2023

Narratives, information and manifestations of resistance to persuasion in online discussions of HPV Vaccination
There are both theoretical accounts and empirical evidence for the fact that, in health communication, narratives (story telling) may have a persuasive advantage when compared with information (the provision of facts). The dominant explanation for this potential advantage is that narratives inhibit people’s resistance to persuasion, particularly in the form of counterarguing. Health communications 21 September 2023

Measles outbreaks: Investing in patient relationships through GP continuity will be key to boosting MMR confidence
The World Health Organization has warned of an “alarming” and accelerating 30-fold increase in measles across Europe. On 19 January the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) declared a national incident in England amid spiralling cases and a drop in vaccine uptake. Andrew Wakefield’s fraudulent and long discredited research linking the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine with autism has cast a long shadow. It remains part of the picture but the reasons behind falling vaccine rates are now more complex, GPs and public health doctors say. BMJ 29 January 2024

Behavioural interventions to reduce vaccine hesitancy driven by misinformation on social media
Key messages

  • Substantial evidence shows the negative effects of vaccine misinformation on social media
  • Evidence on the effectiveness of interventions to correct or mitigate misinformation is considerably more limited and rarely includes measures of true vaccine uptake
  • The evidence available does indicate ways forward to develop better methods, particularly those that would be less likely to backfire in the way that blanket social media bans have
  • The need for such actions is urgent

BMJ 16 January 2024

Longitudinal analysis of behavioral factors and techniques used to identify vaccine hesitancy among Twitter users: Scoping review
While vaccines have played a pivotal role in the fight against infectious diseases, individuals engage in online resources to find vaccine-related support and information. The benefits and consequences of these online peers are unclear and mainly cause a behavioral shift in user sentiment toward vaccination. This scoping review aims to identify the community and individual factors that longitudinally influence public behavior toward vaccination. Human vaccines & immunotherapeutics 20 November 2023



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