Program lead: A/Prof David Heslop
Prof Raina MacIntyre
Armed forces personnel are at increased risk of contracting vaccine-preventable diseases, largely due to increased likelihood of exposure and location of operations. Infectious diseases can result in suspended or cancelled military operations and have had major impacts throughout history on the course and outcomes of conflict. Vaccination for infectious diseases is an important component of both general health care, and also of safeguarding and sustaining military capabilities prepared for and conducting operations.
The Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) vaccination policy aims to protect the health and enhance the effectiveness of service personnel. Vaccination is a cornerstone of force health protection measures and essential to safeguarding Australia's expeditionary and domestic military capabilities. Australia's ongoing involvement in actions across the spectrum of military and non-combatant operations highlights an additional potential need to be ready to provide medical support and advice to regional and allied military partners in operations. Often medical support is the most important aspect of support provided, particularly in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
UNSW VIRL aims to support the development and review of national and international military policies and evidence that will underpin the vaccination components of force protection. This will extend across better understanding the risks of endemic vaccine preventable diseases in domestic and international theatres, but also optimisation of the clinical and operational doctrine and evidence supporting vaccination protections associated with chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives (CBRNE) medical risk management measures.