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Vaccine Uptake

Billions of dollars have been spent developing new, effective, and safe vaccines – and yet, nearly 20 million children don’t receive basic vaccines each year. The Vaccine Uptake group, led by A/Prof Margie Danchin, focuses on understanding and addressing the reasons for low vaccine uptake.

Our aims are:

  • To understand and diagnose the reasons for under-vaccination
  • To target and support vaccine uptake in vulnerable populations
  • To develop and evaluate interventions to increase vaccine uptake in Australia, the Western Pacific region, and globally

We have a range of projects that include:

  • Intervention development and trials in pregnancy, early childhood, high-risk populations and in low resource settings 
  • Diagnostic tool design and validation
  • Policy and evaluation, particularly the evaluation of vaccine mandates or studies to further inform immunisation policy
  • Capacity building within Australia and the Western Pacific Region 

We have a strong interest in vaccine confidence, trust, health program resiliency and communication. Our work applies principles from social and behavioural science and uses both qualitative and quantitative research methods. 

Group Leaders: 
Group Members: 
Dr Bianca Middleton
PhD Student
Dr Lucy Deng
PhD Student
Daniel Norman
PhD Student
Jenny O'Neill
PhD Student
Hayley Archibald
MDRP Student

Vaccine Barriers Assessment Tool (VBAT) 
This is a 4-year NHMRC-funded project to design and validate a survey tool to diagnose the causes of under-vaccination in Australia and New Zealand. Vaccine uptake requires both acceptance (confidence in vaccine safety and effectiveness, trust in healthcare systems and providers) and access (adequate supply of vaccines, affordability, availability, transport). The VBAT will be the first tool to help us understand the reasons for low uptake in specific populations. This information will guide the selection and implementation of cost-effective interventions to increase vaccine uptake.

P3-MumBubVax intervention 
Pregnancy is an important time to inform expectant parents about vaccines for themselves and their infants. This project aims to improve uptake of influenza and pertussis vaccines in pregnancy, as well as childhood vaccines. We developed and pilot-tested a multicomponent intervention package, called P3-MumBubVax, that targets expectant parents and midwives in the Australian public antenatal setting. It is called “P3” because it includes components at the Practice, Provider, and Parent level. Testing the effectiveness of this intervention in a trial is the next phase of this project.

MIND (Measuring Immunisation in Neurodiverse populations)
This study is examining vaccine uptake, hesitancy, and practical barriers to vaccination among families of children with neurodevelopmental disorders. A study in the US showed that children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their siblings may be less likely to be vaccinated and more likely to be vaccine hesitant, but we don’t necessarily know if this is true in Australia. We also don’t know if this is related to a perceived link between vaccines and autism, or if it is due to practical barriers like behavioural challenges or anxiety. With this small mixed methods study, supported by a 2019 Infection and Immunity Theme grant, we’re exploring this issue. We are comparing uptake and hesitancy across three groups of children and their siblings: those with Austism Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome, and the general population.

Other work:

  • Understanding the association between vaccine hesitancy and moral values in parents’ decision-making
  • Monitoring exposure to news and social media to understand vaccine hesitancy and inform vaccine communication interventions
  • Impact of Australian mandatory “No Jab, No Pay” and “No Jab, No Play” immunisation policies on immunisation services, parental attitudes to vaccination and vaccine uptake
  • Optimising Rotavirus Vaccine in Aboriginal Children
  • Barriers to flu vaccine uptake in medically at-risk children. 
  • The School-based Immunisation Program for young people with disabilities in specialist school in Victoria
  • Characterising clinical presentation and outcomes of children presenting with seizures following vaccination and Revaccination outcomes of children with seizures
  • National Health and Medical Research Council
  • Federal Department of Health
  • Victorian Department of Health and Human Services
  • World Health Organization
  • MCRI Infection and Immunity Theme
  • Wesfarmers Centre for Vaccine Research, WA
  • Australia Indonesia Centre (AIC)
  • Bell Charitable Fund
  • University of Sydney
  • Gold Coast PHN
  • RCH Foundation

Australian Collaborators:

  • National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS)
  • Collaboration on Social Science and Immunisation (COSSI)
  • University of Sydney
  • University of Western Australia
  • Telethon Kids Institute
  • WA Health
  • University of Melbourne, Department of Paediatrics 

International Collaborators: 

  • Yale University
  • World Health Organization
  • WHO Europe