25th Annual Scientific Meeting

Immunisation Coalition
Start: February 4, 2024: 16:30:00 - Ends: February 5, 2024: 17:00:00


The 25th Annual Scientific Meeting was held on Sunday, February 4, and Monday, February 5, 2024, at the PARKROYAL Melbourne Airport, Tullamarine.

This event held significant importance for the scientific and medical community, government health officials, academics, and various health-related non-government organizations.

The meeting was chaired by A/Prof Lou Irving from the Royal Melbourne Hospital, who is also a long-standing member of the Immunisation Coalition.


To view each speaker’s biography, please click on their presentation title.

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Speaker: A/Prof Lou Irving

Associate Professor Lou Irving is a Respiratory Physician at  the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. He is Head of the Lung Tumour Stream and the Director of Respiratory and Director of Clinical Training. Associate Professor Irving has clinical, teaching and research interests in lung cancer, advanced bronchoscopy and COPD and has published over 270 scientific papers.​

A/Prof Lou Irving

Latest Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases

Session 1

Speaker: Prof Ian Barr

Professor Ian Barr is currently the Deputy Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza (one of 5 globally) based at the Doherty Institute in Melbourne, Australia which has operated since 1992.  The Centre plays an active role in the regional surveillance of human influenza. Ian has over 35 years’ experience in Research and Development both with academic and commercial groups including over 22 years at the Centre and has authored or co-authored nearly 300 publications including over 250 peer reviewed journal articles, reviews and editorials on various aspects of influenza. He holds an Honorary Professorial position in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne.

Prof Ian Barr

Keynote Presentations

Speaker: Prof Annelies Wilder-Smith

Annelies Wilder-Smith is Team Lead for Vaccine Development at the World Health Organization. In this role, she is responsible for all WHO policy recommendations on COVID-19 vaccines and dengue vaccines, as well as other pipeline vaccines.

She is also Honorary Professor of Emerging Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Past President of the International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM), and Editor-in-Chief of ISTM`s Journal of Travel Medicine.

Annelies specializes in travel and tropical medicine, as well as emerging viral diseases such as COVID-19, Zika, dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, influenza, and SARS. In 2003, she was at the forefront of the SARS epidemic in Singapore. Throughout the pandemic, she served as the Focal Point for the SAGE vaccine policy recommendations for COVID-19. She also led the SAGE Working Group on vaccine policy formulation for the TAK-003 vaccine (Qdenga) which was endorsed during the SAGE meeting in September 2023.

With a career spanning almost three decades, she has led and co-led various clinical trials, published more than 380 scientific papers, edited and co-edited textbooks and travel medicine books, served on various editorial boards and scientific committees, including as Editorial Consultant to The Lancet. Her awards include the Myrone Levine Vaccinology Prize, the Honor Group Award for exemplary leadership and coordination in determining and communicating global yellow fever risk presented at the CDC Award Ceremony, the Mercator Professorship award by the German Research Foundation and the Ashdown Oration Award by the Australian College of Travel Medicine. She was the Principal Investigator of an EU funded international consortium called “ZikaPLAN” (https://zikaplan.tghn.org/), and also completed another 4 year research project on dengue, also funded by the European Commission.

Prof Annelies Wilder-Smith

Speaker: Prof Richard Hobbs

Professor Hobbs is a leading global expert in the role of primary care, and development of primary care research and research infrastructure (networks and partnerships) for the diagnosis and management of major illnesses. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he pivoted much of his department’s research efforts to tackling COVID-19, including UK COVID-19 surveillance, risk assessment, point-of-care diagnostics and co-lead the main UK out of hospitals platform trials on repurposed medicines and novel antivirals.

Prof Richard Hobbs

Session 2

Speaker: A/Prof Kirsty Short

A/Prof Kirsty Short is an Australia Research Council DECRA research fellow in the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences at the University of Queensland in Brisbane Australia. She completed a PhD in 2013 at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Melbourne. In 2013 she was also awarded an NHMRC CJ Martin Early Career Fellowship to go to the Netherlands to work in the Department of Virosciences at Erasmus Medical Centre. She returned to Australia at the end of 2015 and in 2017 she established her independent research group at the University of Queensland. She works on many different aspects of influenza virus pathogenesis, understanding how the flu virus affects different animal species, investigating the role of the immune system in severe flu infections and the interactions between the flu and chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and obesity.

A/Prof Kirsty Short

Speaker: Prof Allen Cheng

Prof Allen Cheng is an infectious diseases physician. He is Professor of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology and is Director of the Infection Prevention and Healthcare Epidemiology unit at Alfred Health. He has a PhD (Flinders University), a Master of Public Health (Monash University) and a Master of Biostatistics (University of Queensland). He has previously worked as an infectious diseases and general physician in Darwin and Geelong, and has worked in remote communities in the Top End of Australia, and in Papua New Guinea, Thailand, the United States and Finland.  In 2020, Prof. Cheng became the Victorian Deputy Chief Health Officer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prof Allen Cheng

Speaker: Prof Kanta Subbarao

Kanta Subbarao is the Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza and Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The University of Melbourne at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity. She is a virologist and a physician with specialty training in paediatrics and paediatric infectious diseases. Previously, she worked at the CDC and National Institutes of Health in the USA.

Dr. Subbarao’s research is focused on newly emerging and re-emerging viral diseases of global importance including pandemic and seasonal influenza, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and now, COVID-19. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, the American Academy of Microbiology and the Infectious Diseases Society of America. She serves on the Editorial Boards of PLoS Pathogens, Journal of Virology, bio, Cell Host and Microbe and Medical.

Prof Kanta Subbarao


Speaker: A/Prof Lou Irving

Associate Professor Lou Irving is a Respiratory Physician at  the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. He is Head of the Lung Tumour Stream and the Director of Respiratory and Director of Clinical Training. Associate Professor Irving has clinical, teaching and research interests in lung cancer, advanced bronchoscopy and COPD and has published over 270 scientific papers.​

A/Prof Lou Irving

Keynote Presentation

Speaker: Prof Stanley Perlman

Dr. Perlman received his Ph.D. in Biophysics from M.I.T., Cambridge, Massachusetts and his M.D. from the University of Miami, Miami, Florida. He is a member of the VRBPAC of the FDA and the COVID-19 Advisory Committee of the ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices).

His current research efforts are focused on coronavirus pathogenesis, including virus-induced demyelination and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and COVID-19. His laboratory has developed several novel animal models useful for studying pathogenesis and evaluating vaccines and antiviral therapies. His studies are directed at understanding why aged patients and mice developed more severe disease than younger individuals after infection with SARS-CoV or SARS-CoV-2 and also on why there is a male predominance in patients with more severe disease after infection with SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV or SARS-CoV-2. He and his colleagues demonstrated that transduction of mice with an adenovirus expressing the human receptor for MERS-CoV, DPP4, rendered them sensitive to infection, providing the first rodent model useful for studying MERS. Similar approaches have been used to develop several mouse models for COVID-19. Among other topics, his research is now focusing on the loss of sense of smell (anosmia) and taste (ageusia) observed in patients with COVID-19.

Prof Stanley Perlman

Economics and Long-Term Implications of Vaccines

Session 3

Speaker: A/Prof Anthony Newall

Anthony Newall is an Associate Professor in Health Economics at the School of Population Health, UNSW Sydney. His main research area is the economic evaluation of infectious disease prevention strategies, as well as the modelling and statistical analyses that inform these evaluations. He has published over 90 articles in peer-reviewed journals on a range of vaccine preventable diseases, including on influenza, pneumococcal disease, rotavirus, and human papillomavirus.

He has previously been appointed to the World Health Organization (WHO) Roster of Experts and been a Visiting Scholar at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). He has received several awards for his research, including the Bernie J. O’Brien new investigator award from the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR), the prestigious Aileen Plant Memorial Prize, and the Dean’s Rising Star Award from the Faculty of Medicine, UNSW.

A/Prof Anthony Newall

Speaker: Professor Tony Korman

Tony Korman is Director of Microbiology and infectious Diseases physician at Monash Health, and Adjunct Clinical Professor, Centre for Inflammatory Diseases, Department of Medicine, School of Clinical Sciences, Monash University.

Professor Tony Korman

Speaker: Dr Sanjay Jayasinghe

Sanjay is a medical graduate with postgraduate qualifications in community medicine and public health. He is an epidemiologist/research fellow in the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS). Sanjay holds a conjoint academic appointment as Senior Lecturer in Children’s Hospital Westmead Clinical School of The University of Sydney. His PhD from University of Sydney was on effectiveness of pneumococcal vaccinations in Australian children and epidemiology of pneumococcal disease in special risk groups. Sanjay’s work at NCIRS for over 10 years has primarily been in evidence-based technical support for development of immunisation policy and practice in Australia. He holds a NHMRC emerging leader fellowship. In addition to infectious disease epidemiology, he also has extensive experience as a health services researcher in the areas of quality and safety of healthcare for the elderly, evaluation of complex system interventions, and assessment of provider and consumer perspectives of healthcare.

Dr Sanjay Jayasinghe

Speaker: Economics and Long-Term Implications of Vaccines


Session 4

Speaker: Prof Tony Cunningham

Professor Tony Cunningham, AO, AHMED, MD FRACP FRCPA is an infectious diseases physician, clinical virologist and scientist, internationally renowned for his research on the immunobiology of HIV and herpesviruses, his work on vaccine development and as an antiviral expert. He is Director of the Centre for Virus Research at The Westmead Institute for Medical Research, Professor, Faculty of Medicine and Health and Sydney ID, the University of Sydney, and Director of the Australian Centre for HIV and Hepatitis Virology Research (ACH4), a Commonwealth Government-funded institute that aims to combat the impact of HIV and hepatitis in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region by bringing together basic researchers with translational scientists and physicians.

Prof Tony Cunningham

Speaker: Prof Katie Flanagan

Professor Katie Flanagan is a clinician scientist who has worked on global health issues for more than 20 years. She is Head of Infectious Diseases at Launceston General Hospital where her department provides a clinical infectious diseases service for the population of North and NW Tasmania. She is affiliated to University of Tasmania, Monash University and RMIT where she is conducting a number of research projects. Her main research interests are in the fields of vaccinology and infectious diseases immunology.  She has led numerous vaccine immunology trials throughout the world including trials of novel malaria and HIV vaccines in African infants, and trials of the immunological effects of commonly used vaccines in the young and elderly. Her current main research focus involves applying systems biology techniques to study human responses to vaccination particularly at the extremes of age; and the role that biological sex plays in the vaccine-specific responses and non-targeted effects of vaccines.

Prof Katie Flanagan

Speaker: A/Prof Michael Woodward

Associate Professor Michael Woodward is Head of Aged Care Research at Austin Health in Melbourne, Victoria. He is a specialist in geriatric medicine with a major interest in adult vaccination and also Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, wound management and the quality use of medications in older people. He is head of the Medical and Cognitive Research Unit that conducts trials into new vaccines and other new therapies for conditions such as dementia and influenza.

Associate Professor Woodward’s publication record includes over 130 peer-reviewed research and review articles. As chair of the Geriatric Therapeutics section of the editorial board of the Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research he oversaw nearly 20 years of publications on quality use of medications and health promotion activities in older people, including articles on vaccination.  He was also joint editor of Wound Practice and Research, the journal of the Australian Wound Management Association, of which he is a past President. He is a member of the editorial committee of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs MATES program, which improves prescribing and pharmaceutical care of DVA beneficiaries, including vaccination.

He is heavily involved in a number of professional organizations including previously Chairing the Committee for Physician Training, Royal Australasian College of Physicians, which oversaw and approved the training of all future consultants in internal medicine. He is currently Chair of that College’s Site Accreditation Committee and was previously a member of their Board of Censors. He was until recently a member of the Geriatric Medicine Education and Training Subcommittee of the Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine, having previously chaired that subcommittee. He has recently overseen a 3rd revision of that Society’s position document on Vaccinations for Older People.

His work in geriatric medicine, dementia and other research and his extensive authorship has been honoured with Membership of the Order of Australia, awarded on Australia Day 2016.

A/Prof Michael Woodward

Speaker: Zoster

Primary Care and Vaccination

Session 5

Speaker: Dr Lisa Beecham

Dr Lisa Beecham spent 5 years working at Royal Children’s Hospital as a Registrar and witnessed the devastating effects of infections that vaccines can protect against. This has led to a lifelong interest in promoting, communicating and using systems to ensure immunisations are given to all who need them. She is Chair of GCPHN ( Gold Coast Primary Health network who first developed the data tool Primary Sense) and the National Clinical Advisory group for Primary Sense ( Data and population tool)  and the RACGP representative on the Qld Immunisation Partnership group.

Dr Lisa Beecham

Speaker: Angela Newbound

Angela Newbound is an Immunisation Education Consultant based in South Australia, and is a member of the Immunisation Coalition. She has been involved in immunisation program delivery in South Australia for over 20 years, originally as an immunisation provider and in program coordinator roles within the Divisions of General Practice, SA Health Immunisation Section, the Medicare Local Network and presently the Primary Health Network. Angela provides clinical advice, support and education to a wide range of immunisation providers across South Australia and contributes to the development of immunisation resources to assist providers with challenging aspects of the immunisation program.

Angela Newbound

Speaker: Brenton Hart

Brenton is a passionate community pharmacist, pharmacy proprietor and advocate, with extensive experience in clinical practice, pharmacy operations, business, leadership and the pharmacy industry. Brenton is increasingly sought after as a thought-leader in various aspects of community pharmacy practice and in particular, vaccination and public health. As a confident influencer and communicator, Brenton enjoys overcoming the challenges facing patients, our health system and community pharmacy itself.

Brenton’s vision is to drive positive health outcomes in communities around Australia and to assist fellow pharmacists become the primary healthcare leaders of tomorrow by maximising their full scope of practice.

Brenton Hart

Speaker: Prof Nigel Stocks

Prof Stocks is Head of the Discipline of General Practice at the University of Adelaide.  He is a general practitioner (FRACGP) and public health physician (FAFPHM).  He is an experienced primary health care researcher who has conducted both qualitative and quantitative studies including RCT’s, cohort and observational studies, systematic reviews and meta-analyses. He has a particular interest in respiratory infectious disease, surveillance and preventive health care including immunisation.  He has been Director of the Australian Sentinel Practices REsearch Network (ASPREN) since 2004.  It undertakes influenza and other infectious disease surveillance in Australian general practice. It also provides data for vaccine effectiveness estimates which are used by the Commonwealth and WHO to help inform the choice of next year’s influenza vaccine.

Prof Nigel Stocks

Speaker: Primary Care and Vaccination

Respiratory Virus Vaccines – Today and Tomorrow's Outlook

Session 6

Speaker: Prof Jim Buttery

Jim Buttery is the inaugural Professor of Child Health Informatics at the University of Melbourne based at the Melbourne Children’s Campus Centre for Health Analytics. He is the Chief Research Information Officer and an infectious diseases physician at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. He is also the Head of Epidemiology and Signal Detection of SAEFVIC, the Victorian Immunisation Safety Service, and Group Head, Health informatics, at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, and the co-director of the Global Vaccine Data Network. Jim leads an epi-informatics team of epidemiologists, data analysts and statisticians whose research revolves around innovative use of real-world data to answer important questions in infectious diseases epidemiology, vaccine safety and effectiveness.

These innovations include Introducing Australia’s first state based public facing vaccine safety report, updated weekly, to inform the public and maintain vaccine confidence (Saefvic.online/vaccinesafety), development of syndromic vaccine safety surveillance methodologies, including de-identified telephone help line and GP data network surveillance which have been incorporated into DHHS Victoria surveillance, and the establishment of the Vaccine Safety Health Link (VSHL). VSHL is a statewide Victorian prospective vaccine safety datalinkage project linking Victorian Australian immunisation Register data to hospital admissions, emergency presentations, perinatal, births and deaths and primary care datasets. This is the only vaccine datalink system in Australia incorporating perinatal and GP data.

To understand the full impact of common viruses upon human health, he has established Snotwatch, a novel population wide spatiotemporal platform to link viral exposures to health outcomes, and understand the full health and economic burden of these viruses. Initial studies have shown new associations with febrile seizures, Kawasaki Disease, childhood hepatitis and chilblains. Using pathology, environmental exposures, and hospital, ED and GP datasets, we are generating new insights into common respiratory viruses.

Prof Jim Buttery

Speaker: A/Prof Bette Liu

Bette Liu is a medically trained epidemiologist with extensive national and international experience in the design, conduct and analysis of large-scale epidemiological studies using record linkage of administrative health data, and e-medical records. She trained in medicine and public health at the University of Sydney and obtained her doctorate in epidemiology from the University of Oxford. She leads the Population Health Group at NCIRS which focuses on using big data to evaluate vaccine programs to inform communicable diseases control policy.

A/Prof Bette Liu

Speaker: Prof Margie Danchin

Margie is a consultant paediatrician at the Royal Childrens Hospital and Clinician Scientist, University of Melbourne, and Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI). As leader of the Vaccine Uptake Group, MCRI, her research focuses on vaccine confidence and uptake, particularly amongst high risk-groups and in low and middle-income countries, and on effective risk communication. In Australia, she is a member of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and chair of the Social Science Advisory Board and a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee, National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS). She is committed to efforts to improve vaccine confidence and uptake in the Asia Pacific Region and she works closely with DFAT to provide technical immunisation support for the region. She is Chair, Australian Regional Immunisation Alliance (ARIA) and on the steering committee for Melbourne Children’s Global Health.

Prof Margie Danchin

Speaker: Respiratory Virus Vaccines – Today and Tomorrow's Outlook

Summary and Closing Comments

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We would like to thank the following companies for supporting this event:

Page Published: 16 October 2023 | Page Updated: 28 February 2024