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:
- Developing and testing interventions to improve vaccine uptake for pregnant women, children, high-risk populations and in low resource settings
- Designing and validating tools to measure vaccine acceptance and barriers to accessing vaccination
- Informing and evaluating policy, particularly the evaluation of vaccine mandates or studies to further inform immunisation policy
- Training and building capacity to implement and evaluate vaccine promotion strategies 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.
COVID 19 Vaccine Preparedness Study Summary
To support the COVID-19 vaccine program, the Victorian Government funded this research to find out if Victorians were planning to get the vaccine, what concerns people had, and what information they needed to make this decision.
Infographic of summary results
COVID Vaccine Preparedness Study
Clear and reliable information is important to answer people’s questions and build trust. The COVID Vaccine Preparedness study aims to understand the questions, concerns, information needs, and decision-making factors of people prioritised to receive and deliver COVID-19 vaccines. This includes health care workers, aged and disability care workers, people aged 70 years-old and older, and adults with an underlying health conditions. With involvement from participants, we will use a co-design approach to inform the development of communication messages and strategies for the COVID vaccine rollout by the Victorian Department of Health (DH). This will help DH give clear and accurate information to Victorians to help them make decisions regarding COVID-19 vaccination.
Download the lay summary here (PDF, 382KB)
COVID Schools Study (Enhanced public health investigation of SARS-CoV-2 cases in Victorian schools and early childhood education and care).
The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), together with the Victorian Department of Health (DH) and the Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET), is conducting a study to increase understanding of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission in schools and Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) services. It is anticipated that the findings from this research will inform the public health response to outbreaks in schools and ECEC services. Schools and ECEC services are an essential part of society and children’s lives. They provide safe and supportive learning environments for children and students, employ teachers and other staff, and enable parents and guardians to work. Ultimately, we need more evidence to understand how coronavirus (COVID-19) is spread in schools and ECEC, inform the best way to respond to outbreaks, and ensure that children, students and staff are supported and can continue to learn and thrive in 2021. The research aims to increase knowledge about key aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission and the public health response, such as: the role of young children and students in coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission, the direction of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission in schools and ECEC services, the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on school and ECEC communities.
Eligible schools and ECEC services will be invited by MCRI to participate in the research. Participation is voluntary. The standard public health response will continue to apply in schools and ECEC services that experience a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This research follows on from a study undertaken by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in 2020: An analysis of COVID-19 in ECEC and schools and evidence-based recommendations for opening ECEC and schools & keeping them open. Download the report.
Any questions about the research should be directed to: Associate Professor Margie Danchin, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, see COVID Schools Study.
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.
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.
Acute RCH Wellbeing Cohort: Clinical, psychosocial and economic impacts of COVID-19 on a paediatric hospital cohort of children and families
For all tested children through the outpatient Respiratory Infection Clinic (RIC) or wards (Short Stay Unit and general medical inpatients), we are seeking to understand the level of psychological trauma experienced in an acute hospital cohort of children related to testing and hospitalisation and management by staff in full PPE. We will also ascertain what factors predict risk and resilience, parents’ knowledge of COVID-19, trust in government and interpretation of and adherence to public health prevention measures. We are undertaking a mixed methods study, including an economic analysis from health system and household perspective. The study will be linked to the Campus Mental Health Strategy and expanded to include national data collection in six tertiary hospital sites through the Paediatric Active Enhanced Disease Surveillance (PAEDS) study. This project will help us answer questions like, how can our health services provide the best care and ongoing support for families affected by COVID-19? And how we can improve communication, support and care in the future?
Why are the babies not growing? A study of paediatric hospital admissions for infants with poor growth or maternal mental health concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic
It has noted that due to the closure of Maternal and Child Health Services (MCHN) in Victoria at various times during the pandemic that there has been a huge increase in the number of infants presenting with feeding difficulties, poor weight gain, irritability, as well as a large impact on maternal mental health and requirement for parental support. We are conducting an audit in infants < 12 weeks admitted to RCH between March-June 2020 to try and understand the impact of the pandemic infants and their mothers from withdrawal of this service. Differences in nature and severity of presentations will be compared for the same time periods in 2020 and 2019. The study is also being expanded statewide through the Melbourne Academic Centre for Health (MACH) Health Services Research Group.
Migrant Immunisation Access (MIA) project
The MIA project will determine the extent of and examine the specific reasons behind under-immunisation among children of migrant parents by identifying gaps in health service delivery and exploring migrant experiences and awareness of immunisation services in the City of Melbourne, Victoria. We will also explore the impact of COVID-19 on access to routine immunisation services and interpretation of public health messaging. The project is a collaboration between the Vaccine Uptake Group and the City of Melbourne’s Immunisation Section, as well as key stakeholders including General Practitioners (GPs) and migrant parents.
Rapid Formative Assessment Prior to New Vaccine Introduction in 9 Pacific-Island Countries
UNICEF Pacific have requested support to develop a Rapid Formative Assessment survey to guide new vaccine introduction in 9 Pacific Island Countries (PICS) to inform new vaccine introduction strategies, specifically around risk communication, knowledge, attitudes and practices towards immunisation. Through the Australian Regional Immunisation Alliance (ARIA), I am co-leading this project to develop the survey tool, with countries administering the survey and ARIA supporting the data analysis and reporting results back to UNICEF. The implementers will rely on existing UNICEF and in-country capacity to oversee and coordinate engagement with local stakeholders. Other implementation partners include Rotary International & Asian Development Bank. These data will provide behavioural and social science data to inform new vaccine introduction in 9 PICs through ARIA.
The issue of holding young people with a disability for immunisations given through the School-based Immunisation Program is complex. Many young people with cognitive difficulties, will not assent to immunisation, due to issues such as communication, lack of understanding of the benefit of the procedure, fear of needles, and anxiety about the process. Whether the student has sufficient capacity to assent, or whether their right to refuse should be prioritised over the benefits of immunisation, raises ethical tensions. To explore this issue, GlaxoSmithKline plc awarded the Vaccine Uptake Group a grant to develop a guideline for the holding of young people with disability during immunisation at school. The aim of this project is to design and develop an ethically informed best-practice guideline, to guide the use, appropriateness and method of holding young people with disabilities during immunisations within the School-based Immunisation Program in Victoria. Download the guidelines (PDF, 985KB)
- 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
- Australian Department of Health
- Australia Indonesia Centre (AIC)
- Bell Charitable Fund
- Federal Department of Health
- Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK)
- Gold Coast PHN
- MCRI Infection and Immunity Theme
- National Health and Medical Research Council
- RCH Foundation
- University of Sydney
- Victorian Department of Health and Human Services
- Wesfarmers Centre for Vaccine Research, WA
- World Health Organization
- Australian College of Midwives
- Collaboration on Social Science and Immunisation (COSSI)
- National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS)
- Telethon Kids Institute
- University of Melbourne, Department of Paediatrics
- University of Melbourne, Department of General Practice
- University of Sydney
- University of Western Australia
- Victorian, NSW and WA Departments of Health
- Commonwealth Department of Health
- Doherty Institute
- Burnet Institute
- WHO Europe
- World Health Organization
- Yale University
- UNICEY, New York
- CDC, Atlanta, USA
- Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA
- Lessons learnt during the COVID-19 pandemic: Why Australian schools should be prioritised to stay open. 2021
- Designing a multi-component intervention (P3-MumBubVax) to promote vaccination in antenatal care in Australia 2020
- Feasibility and acceptability of the multi-component P3-MumBubVax antenatal intervention to promote maternal and childhood vaccination: A pilot study. 2020
- How to use qualitative methods for health and health services research 2020
- 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, in a tertiary paediatric hospital, the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne. 2020
- Integrating trials into a whole-population cohort of children and parents: statement of intent (trials) for the Generation Victoria (GenV) cohort. 2020
- Maintaining routine vaccination in a pandemic COSSI Working Group 2020
- Preparing the public for COVID-19 vaccines 2020
- Subcutaneous nodules following immunization in children; in Victoria, Australia from 2007 to 2016. 2020
- COVID-19 vaccination: recommendations from the Collaboration on Social Science in Immunisation. 2021
- Minimising missed opportunities to promote and deliver immunisation services to adults: Can hospital-based programs be a solution? 2021
- A critical review of measures of vaccine attitudes. 2021
- The Collaboration for Improving Influenza Vaccination in Children (CIIVIC): A Meeting Report. 2021
- Influenza vaccination: A qualitative study of practice level barriers from medical practitioners caring for children with special risk medical conditions. 2021
The Conversation articles
- August 2 2021 : Should we vaccinate children against COVID-19? We asked 5 experts
- July 8 2021 : Is it more infectious? Is it spreading in schools? This is what we know about the Delta variant and kids
- June 16 2021 : Diverse spokespeople and humour: how the government's next ad campaign could boost COVID vaccine uptake
- May 28 2021 : We need to prioritise teachers and staff for COVID vaccination - and stop closing schools with every lockdown
- May 20 2021 : From faith leaders to office workers: 5 ways we can all be COVID vaccine champions
- May 03 2021 : I’m over 50 and can now get my COVID vaccine. Is the AstraZeneca vaccine safe? Does it work? What else do I need to know?
- April 09 2021 : Pictures of COVID injections can scare the pants off people with needle phobias. Use these instead
- March 31 2021 : We can’t close schools every time there’s a COVID outbreak. Our traffic light system shows what to do instead
- March 25 2021 : There’s no need to pause vaccine rollouts when there’s a safety scare. Give the public the facts and let them decide
- February 24 2021 : How do we know the COVID vaccine won’t have long-term side-effects?
- January 28 2021 : The government is spending almost A$24m to convince us to accept a COVID vaccine. But will its new campaign actually work?
- January 20 2021 : Coronavirus: is it safe for kids to go back to school? And what about the new mutant strain?
- January 13 2021 : The Oxford vaccine has unique advantages, as does Pfizer’s. Using both is Australia’s best strategy
- November 16 2020 : COVID-19 vaccines could go to children first to protect the elderly
- September 28 2020 : Behind Victoria’s decision to open primary schools to all students: report shows COVID transmission is rare
- August 21 2020 : 5 ways we can prepare the public to accept a COVID-19 vaccine (saying it will be ‘mandatory’ isn’t one)
- Feburary 20 2019 : Everyone can be an effective advocate for vaccination: here’s how
- December 03 2020 : Should schools close during the COVID-19 pandemic?
- September 14 2020 : How can we make sure people trust a COVID-19 vaccine when we get one?
- July 28 2021 : Should Australia's COVID-19 vaccine rollout be more transparent? There are risks of publishing localised data, experts say
- July 25 2021 : The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for kids aged 12-15. Here's what happens next
- July 20 2021 : Two-thirds of people want to get COVID vaccine from their GP
- July 12 2021 : Australian ad showing Covid patient gasping for air ‘could increase vaccine hesitancy’
- June 07 2021 : Researchers investigate spread as North Melbourne school outbreak grows
- June 04 2021 : New Delta variant outbreak dashes hope of lockdown reprieve
- June 01 2021 : COVID-19 vaccination ad an opportunity for government to 'change course'
- May 31 2021 : ‘Those ads won’t work on anyone’: New tack to motivate younger people to get the jab
- May 28 2021 : ‘People are confused’: Experts say demystifying side effects will boost vaccine uptake
- May 20 2021 : With so much secrecy and mixed messaging, it’s no wonder Australians are vaccine hesitant
- May 07 2021 : More rare blood clots have been linked to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, but should you be concerned?
- April 27 2021 : 'You lose people very quickly': Talking to friends or family who are down the anti-vaccine rabbit hole
- March 29 2021 : How to talk to friends and family feeling unsure about COVID-19 vaccines
- March 07 2021 : Drop in willingness to get COVID-19 vaccine attributed to lack of exposure to 'how bad it really is', researcher says
- March 05 2021 : Australian attitudes on the COVID-19 vaccine differ on political lines — but the vast majority are still keen for the jab
- December 22 2020 : Strong public health messaging campaign crucial to large uptake of COVID-19 vaccine, experts say
- August 28 2020 : Coronavirus vaccines are being fast-tracked and calming fears over safety is vital
- Feburary 20 2019 : You're not going to convince an anti-vaxxer by berating them on Facebook
- July 30 2021 : Is COVID-19 information overload causing bottlenecks in our community response?
- July 21 2021 : Should children be vaccinated against COVID-19? with A/Prof Margie Danchin
- July 19 2021 : Talkback - Access to coronavirus vaccines with A/Prof Margie Danchin
- July 1 2021 : Mixed messaging and vaccine confusion - what you need to know with A/Prof Margie Danchin
- May 28 2021 : How do we use the latest coronavirus outbreak to increase vaccine uptake? with A/Prof Margie Danchin
- March 17 2021 : Expert says Australians should be confident in the vaccine rollout with A/Prof Margie Danchin
- March 12 2021 : Is the government doing enough to convince us all to get our COVID shot?
- January 12 2021 : Convincing Australians to trust the vaccine with Dr Jessica Kaufman
- September 10 2020 : Covid vaccine unknowns with Dr Jessica Kaufman
- August 20 2020 : What stops people from getting vaccinated? On trusting science with Dr Jessica Kaufman