Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander vaccination needs

Date Commenced:
Expected Date of Completion:
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Project Main Description

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have substantially poorer health and shorter life expectancy than the rest of the Australian population. Vaccine programs have been successful in reducing disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people for specific VPDs, despite persistent adverse social and environmental conditions. For vaccines included in the National Immunisation Program (NIP), coverage is comparable in Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations. While significant reductions in VPD burden have been seen in both, persistent delays in vaccination among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children continue to place them at increased risk of disease in early life. Australia has had a number of vaccine programs included on the NIP only for Indigenous people, and coverage for these programs is substantially lower than for universal NIP vaccines, largely related to poor identification of Indigenous status among health service providers and cultural and practical barriers to health service access. Poor quality data on disease and health service delivery has limited the ability to monitor program effectiveness among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The CRE team has extensive experience in Indigenous vaccinology research and has developing methods to extend the use of administrative datasets. Research in this theme focuses on methods to improve Indigenous identifiers, means to monitor program effectiveness,  methods to better target vaccination programs and models of delivering immunisation programs to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and research into improving vaccine delivery, coverage and timeliness.


Stream news

Results of the first Australian study of knowledge, risk practices and health service access for Sexually Transmissible Infections (STIs) and Blood Borne Viruses (BBVs) among young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has been released

National Indigenous Immunisation Research Workshop

Research Symposium on "Dreaming up the future of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Public Health"

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Data Linkage Roundtable

The Lowitja Institute 2nd National Conference 2014

Aboriginal Health Research Stakeholder Round Table – 3rd of December

Stream Newsletters

November 2014 

April 2014

December 2013

April 2013


Workshops and other activities

Aboriginal Health Research Round Table

On 3rd December 2012, the CRE hosted a Stakeholder discussion on 3rd of December 2012 with the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector. The round table was facilitated by James Ward from CRE, and Dr Ngiare Brown and Janine Milera from the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), and was attended by 30 participants with expertise and an interest in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander vaccination issues from the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and its affiliates, Aboriginal health councils and Aboriginal health services.

The roundtable aim was to assist the CRE with identifying research priorities in the area of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander vaccination needs from the ground up. The roundtable offered the opportunity to hear the views of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The stakeholders recommended that the focus of CRE research should be on strategies to improve immunisations coverage and timeliness across the life span, across the rural and urban parts of the country and on the issues of workforce for immunisations.

Following the roundtable, the CRE started a newsletter to roundtable delegates to keep them informed of going on activities within the stream. These newsletters have and will be distributed quarterly.

National Indigenous Immunisation Research Workshop

This workshop was conducted on 7 and 8 November 2013, was hosted by the Telethon Institute of Child Health Research. PRP Snelling was the principal organiser.  The CRE were represented on the organising committee and several members of the stream attended and presented their research.  The CRE also contributed by partial sponsoring of the workshop.



Penelope Abbott, Robert Menzies, Joyce Davison, Louise Moore and Han Wang. Improving immunisation timeliness in Aboriginal children through personalised calendars. BMC Public Health. 13:598. June 2013.
R. I. Menzies, P. Markey, R Boyd, A. P. Koehler, P. B. McIntyre. No evidence of increasing Haemophilusinfluenzaenon-b infection in Australian Aboriginal children.  International Journal of Circumpolar Health. 72: 20992. August 2013
Snelling TL, Markey P, CarapetisJR, Andrews RM. Rotavirus in the Northern Territory before and after vaccination. Microbiology Australia. 33(2):61-3. May 2012.
DonatoCM, CannanD, Bogdanovic-SakranN, Snelling TL, Kirkwood CD. Characterisation of a G9P [8] rotavirus strain identified during a gastroenteritis outbreak in Alice Springs, Australia post Rotarix™ vaccine introduction. Vaccine. 30 Suppl1:A152-8. April 2012. 
Menzies R, Andrews R. Immunisation issues for Indigenous Australian children. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health. [Published online] May 2011.




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