The Wesfarmers Centre is pleased to announce the successful applications for the 2018 Round 1 Wesfarmers Centre Seed Funding.
The Wesfarmers Centre Scientific Committee collectively scored each grant using the NHMRC project grant criteria, and awarded funds only where it was confident it would lead to a highly competitive grant application (weighted score >5.0).
Gladymar Perez | Telethon Kids Institute
Tom Snelling, Sarah Sheridan (University of New South Wales), Heather Gidding (University of New South Wales), Hannah Moore. Awarded $23,628.00
Pertussis Immunisation in Infancy and Prevention of Hospitalisations and Emergency Department Consultations Due to Severe Atopic Outcomes Among a Birth Cohort of Australian Children
Globally, the most commonly used whooping cough vaccine is a “whole-cell” vaccine. Since 1999, a purified “acellular” vaccine has been used in Australia instead. The switch from using whole-cell to acellular vaccine occurred due to the lower rate of benign reactions seen with the acellular vaccine, and safety concerns about the whole cell vaccine that have since been shown to be unfounded. Removal of whole-cell vaccine from the routine immunisation schedule coincided with a marked increase in number and severity of hospitalisations for allergic diseases.
The number and proportion of Australians affected by allergic diseases is high by international standards. By age 12 months, 1 in 10 children has a food allergy and 3 in 10 have eczema. Asthma, a common manifestation of allergy, affects up to 1 in 9 children and is one of the most common reasons for admissions to hospital. In 2005, allergic diseases costed $30 billion, including medical costs, loss of productivity and wellbeing. Reducing the burden of allergy has been identified as a national research priority, and this study will help to determine if the use of an early, single dose of the whole-cell pertussis vaccine has the potential to prevent atopic conditions in childhood.
Annette Regan | Curtin University, Telethon Kids Institute
Holly Seale (University of New South Wales), Chris Blyth, Tom Snelling, Melissa Stockwell (Columbia University), Margie Danchin (Murdoch Children's Research Institute), Jessica Kaufman (Murdoch Children's Research Institute). Awarded: $23,723.00
Text2VaxMums: Evaluating the potential use of SMS reminders for improving immunisation coverage among pregnant women
Pregnant women are a priority group for influenza immunisation, and influenza and pertussis vaccines offer health benefits to mothers and their infants. Previous studies have shown that maternal vaccination can prevent 63% of influenza infections and 93% of pertussis infections in the first six months of life. Despite the benefits, less than 40% of pregnant women in Australia receive an influenza and pertussis vaccine each year. Effective, evidence-based strategies which can improve vaccine uptake during pregnancy are needed to enhance the protection afforded to young infants.
Studies have consistently shown that the strongest predictor of vaccination among pregnant women is a healthcare provider recommendation. Text messages have been proposed as a potential low-cost, scalable method of delivering provider-initiated immunisation reminders to pregnant women. Some studies from the US have shown that text message reminders can result in a 30% improvement in influenza vaccination among pregnant women. However, these interventions have not yet been robustly tested in the Australian context, and data from a small Australian study involving 256 pregnant women failed to show any effect of a text message reminder.
In-depth qualitative information on the perceptions and preferences of pregnant women is needed in order to better inform the development of SMS immunisation reminder strategies in Australia.