New report : vaccine safety under the microscope

24 Apr 2023

New report : vaccine safety under the microscope featured image

Dr Nicholas Wood, a New South Wales based general paediatrician with significant experience in vaccine safety, maternal and neonatal immunisation has today published his Churchill Fellowship report, sharing findings from Canada, Switzerland and USA where he collaborated with international experts in order to improve clinical advice on and management of vaccine reactions for the Australian community.

“I am using my Churchill Fellowship to improve clinical advice and management of vaccine reactions for the Australian community which is critical now more than ever,” said Dr Wood.

“One of my key findings is that long term follow up of rare but serious adverse reactions should be a routine part of our vaccine safety surveillance system.”

“US and Australian studies are underway looking at the long-term follow up of people who had myocarditis (heart inflammation) or thrombosis/thrombocytopenia (clotting event) after COVID vaccines – some US results are available and Australian results coming soon.”

“Vaccine safety has always been at the centre of Australia’s immunisation programs and my Churchill Fellowship enabled me to meet with international experts to learn how they manage vaccine related injuries and learn more about vaccine injury compensation schemes,” Dr Wood said.

Adam Davey, CEO of the Winston Churchill Trust stated that  “With his vast experience in maternal and neonatal immunisation including management of vaccine reactions and long-term outcomes of adverse events following immunisation, Nicholas is well positioned to share his knowledge of international approaches to vaccine injury compensation schemes and contribute to improved outcomes here in Australia.”

“Churchill Fellows like Dr Nicholas are ready, willing and able to talk to policy makers, to governments of all levels to improve things back in Australia.” said Mr Davey.

Dr Nicholas has some very practical answers and actions. As a leading paediatrician, he is very supportive of parents vaccinating their children and wants to build stronger systems to prevent, manage and support vaccine safety.

Dr Nicholas said: “Australia has a COVID-19 vaccine claims scheme which provides compensation to those whom have had a serious adverse event after COVID-19 vaccines. However, no such scheme exists in Australia for compensation after other NON COVID-19 vaccines that are on our national program, which is the case in the US and Canada.”

“The fact is that although serious adverse events after vaccinations, both Covid and non-Covid, are rare these should be acknowledged, explained, and compensated by the government and well managed and resourced.”

“We should expand the COVID-9 vaccine claims scheme to cover all vaccines on our national immunisation program.”

“In addition new vaccines are coming, for example respiratory syncytial virus vaccines, which use new technology and may potentially lead to new adverse events. An Australian claims scheme is particularly needed given our mandates – No Jab No Pay and No Jab No play.”

“Australia is well placed to have established within the planned Centres for Disease Control (CDC) – a dedicated immunisation safety office. This would conduct similar activities to those coordinated by the Immunization Safety Office in the US Centres for Disease Control – which I visited in Atlanta.”

“Our Australian safety office would work closely with our TGA, State Health departments and Commonwealth health department.”

The knowledge Nicholas gained on his Churchill Fellowship about vaccine safety and the genetics of adverse events will benefit Australians as new and various vaccines are developed over the coming years.

Read Dr Nick’s report here.

Thinking about becoming a Churchill Fellow? Applications are now open, and close 1 May 5.00pm AEST. Find out more and apply here.

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