Joint Forum by Melbourne Children’s Global Health and the Centre of Research Excellence for Pneumococcal Disease Control in the Asia-Pacific


Title: Data for immunisation policy decision-making and the role of National Immunisation Technical Advisory Groups: Experience from Lao PDR


Description: The data needed to make immunisation policy regarding new vaccine introduction or schedule changes uses a combination of vaccine safety and efficacy data, local burden of disease data and, in some settings, cost-effectiveness analyses. Some countries have limited local data to support evidence-based decision making. National Immunisation Technical Advisory Groups (NITAGs) independently assess scientific evidence to advise immunisation policy decision-makers. For over two decades, MCRI has partnered with academics, clinicians, and policymakers from across the Asia-Pacific region to support the generation of data to inform immunisation policy. In this forum, we will discuss:

  • The role of NITAGs in immunisation policy decision-making.
  • The need to generate local data for policy decision-making.
  • How our new project brings together the experience of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) with supporting the capacity of the Lao PDR NITAG in evidence-based decision-making, and their local University of Health Sciences to generate data.


Speaker Details:

Professor Fiona Russell is a paediatrician, infectious diseases epidemiologist and vaccinologist who leads the Asia-Pacific Health Group at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. She is Director of the Child and Adolescent Health PhD program at The University of Melbourne’s Department of Paediatrics. She leads the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council’s Centre for Research Excellence on Pneumococcal Disease Control in the Asia-Pacific. She Chairs the Australasian Society of Infectious Diseases Vaccination Special Interest Group. Her research provides evidence for policy decisions regarding immunisation and child health in low- and middle-income countries.


Professor Nigel Crawford is a paediatrician, Head of Immunisation Services at The Royal Children’s Hospital and director of Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre and the Victorian Vaccine Safety Service (SAEFVIC) at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. His research interests include vaccine safety, immunisation of special risk groups and emerging infections, particularly those that may soon be vaccine preventable. He is on the steering committee of the International Network of Special Immunisation Services and was recently appointed as the Western Pacific Region representative of the WHO Global NITAG Network. He has been a member of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation since 2014 and has been the chair since 2021.


Dr Vannida Douangboupha is a paediatrician and epidemiologist at Mahosot Hospital in Lao PDR. She is also a clinical lecturer at the Lao PDR University of Health Sciences. She has been an investigator for the Rotavirus Sentinelled Surveillance System and the Intussusception Surveillance System at Mahosot Hospital, Champassak Provincial Hospital and Children’s Hospital.


Darren S Ong and Dr Alicia Quach


Comments are closed.