Mathematical modelling to inform the national seasonal influenza vaccination policy: findings from our study

George Milne, Joel Kelso, Simon Xie, Sheena G. Sullivan, Vivian Leung, Hannah Moore, Rose Barnes, Thomas Snelling, Jessica Wong, Ben Cowling

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference presentation/ephemera


In 2017 the Commonwealth Department of Health commissioned a consortia from the WHO Influenza Centre Melbourne, Telethon Kids Institute, University of Hong Kong and the University of Western Australia to (1) determine the influenza health burden in Australia and (2) using mathematical modelling, determine the effectiveness of alternative vaccination strategies which may significantly reduce the burden. The Phase 1 epi study used data from most states and territories averaged over 10 years (2007 to 2016), giving the relationship between case numbers and hospitalisation and mortality rates. This phase also determined current vaccination coverage by age class, giving a baseline vaccination scenario.

The modelling study involved developing individual-based (c.f. agent based) models for Albany, Newcastle and Cairns, with an overall population of ~400,000, following methods developed previously at UWA. The models were applied separately to determine the effectiveness of potential changes to Australia's current influenza vaccination "profile". These included increased vaccination coverage to at-risk groups, to school-age children, use of enhanced vaccines to those aged 65 and above, and LAIV replacing QIV for those aged 3 to 17 years; a total of 60 scenarios were evaluated. These results were then scaled to an Australian population of ~24. 7 million.

The effectiveness of each alternative vaccination strategy was determined by the reduction in health burden, between the current vaccination baseline and the new strategy. As we model each individual in each of the 3 communities, we also determined the direct vs indirect protection afforded by vaccination, the herd immunity effect.

This talk will present the key study results.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event13th Australian Influenza Symposium - Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 28 Oct 201929 Oct 2019


Conference13th Australian Influenza Symposium
Internet address


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