National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance
The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) is the leading research organisation in Australia providing objective expert advice on all aspects of vaccine preventable diseases, and other issues related to immunisation, to inform policy and planning for immunisation services in Australia.
NCIRS is undertaking multiple research projects and our staff are working in a range of capacities to support the COVID-19 pandemic response, including:
- COVID-19 surveillance via the PAEDS network
The Paediatric Active Enhanced Disease Surveillance (PAEDS) network is collecting enhanced clinical data on all children presenting with COVID-19 infection at 8 hospitals across Australia, including the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and Sydney Children’s Hospital at Randwick. Analysis of these clinical data is improving our understanding of how common hospitalisation for COVID-19 is in children and the severity of disease. Learn more here.
- Monitoring COVID-19 in schools and early childhood education and care services
NCIRS are working with NSW Health and the NSW Department of Education to monitor and understand the extent to which SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is transmitted within school and early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings. This research has provided evidence about high-risk activities in NSW schools and childcare centres, and has informed strategies to reduce transmission risk. Work to better understand how variants of the virus are affecting transmission in educational settings is ongoing. Learn more here.
- COVID-19 vaccines – National policy support
NCIRS staff are providing scientific technical support to the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) COVID-19 Working Group. The Working Group advises the Australian Government Minister for Health on the COVID-19 vaccination program in Australia and provides guidance to immunisation service providers regarding the use of COVID-19 vaccines based on best available scientific evidence.
- COVID-19 vaccine safety monitoring in Australia
Led by NCIRS, AusVaxSafety is undertaking comprehensive active safety monitoring of all COVID-19 vaccines in use in Australia. The AusVaxSafety program, in conjunction with the Therapeutic Goods Administration and health authorities across the country, is also conducting a range of studies investigating rarer side effects. Learn more here