Vaccine Preventable Diseases and Vaccination Coverage in Australia, 2003 to 2005

Future surveillance priorities

Disclaimer: This is the fourth report on vaccine preventable disease and vaccination coverage in Australia, and is produced by the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance of Vaccine Preventable Diseases and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare on behalf of the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing published as a supplement to the Communicable Diseases Intelligence journal Volume 31, June 2007.

Page last updated: 20 July 2007

For this report, access to and the scope of the data available from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) National Hospital Morbidity Database and Causes of Death Collection have again been enhanced by NCIRS’ relationship with the AIHW as a collaborating centre. The presentation, for the first time in this report, of some recently enhanced data fields such as immunisation status and typing information from the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS), has shown how these fields provide important additional information but that there is still room for improvement in regards to data completeness. The introduction of revised national case definitions in 2004, including those for vaccine preventable diseases, provides increasing consistency to notification data. The requirements for the laboratory confirmation of diseases that have become rare due to the success of immunisation (e.g. Hib disease, measles, mumps and rubella) provide increasing confidence in notification data. The typing of clinical specimens for measles and rubella is now very important to document transmission of any imported cases and absence of endemic circulating types. The recent additions of varicella, meningococcal C and pneumococcal conjugate vaccines to the NIP in 2005 make close monitoring of the impact of these vaccination programs critical. Enhanced laboratory surveillance is in place for meningococcal and pneumococcal disease, and varicella-zoster surveillance through national notification is imminent. A study involving collaboration between NCIRS and APSU will focus on cases hospitalised with severe varicella disease and collect samples for viral characterisation. A similar collaboration to improve surveillance for acute flaccid paralysis is underway in order to document elimination of polio disease in Australia. A whole of life vaccination register is under consideration and, if implemented, would aid evaluation of vaccine effectiveness across the spectrum.

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