IMMUNISATION & INDIGENOUS HEALTH HOT TOPICS AT DARWIN CONFERENCE

 Public health experts and practitioners from around the country and overseas are coming together for the 13th National Immunisation Conference in Darwin.  The three day conference has a particular focus on immunisation and Indigenous health inAustralia and around the world.

 “The Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) is focussed on preventing health problems in communities and we have always had a strong commitment to immunisation as an appropriate way to stop the spread of preventable diseases.  The conference will be opened at 8:30am this morning with a video message from the Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, Minister for Health,” said Michael Moore, Chief Executive Officer of PHAA.

 The opening plenary of the conference will be focussing on immunisation for Indigenous people around the world with perspectives from Canada (Dr David Scheifele, Director of the Vaccine Evaluation Centre at British Columbia (BC) Children’s Hospital and Professor of Pediatrics at the University of BC in Vancouver); Australia (Mr James Ward, Head of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute Central Australia in Alice Springs); and New Zealand (Dr Diana Lennon, Professor of Population Health of Children and Youth and Paediatrician in Infectious Diseases at Starship Hospital in Auckland, New Zealand).

 “Another special feature on the first day’s program will be the Feery Oration at 4:30pm, delivered by Associate Professor Dr Jeffrey Hanna AM from theSchoolofPublic Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences atJamesCookUniversityinCairns.  Dr Hanna will be speaking about changing issues for immunisation over the past 20 years with again a special focus onAustralia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and current challenges both here and abroad,” said Mr Moore.

 “The biennial Immunisation Conferences are the peak public health conferences inAustraliawith the prevention and control of vaccine preventable diseases through immunisation as their focus.  Since their commencement in 1987, the Immunisation Conferences have grown in size and stature, with over 500 delegates due to attend this year’s event,” said Professor Peter McIntyre, Director of the Australian National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance of Vaccine Preventable Diseases.  Other key topics during the first day will include new Australian data on whooping cough, influenza and vaccine impact.

  For general comment on the conference:

Michael Moore, CEO, Public Health Association ofAustralia:                                                                       0417 249 731

 For access to presenters for comment/interviews; copies of presentation abstracts; and/or further information on the conference:

Melanie Walker, Conference Media Contact:                                                                                                   0438 430 963

 An outline of the conference program is available on the PHAA website at: http://www.phaa.net.au/13thImmunisationConference.php

Sponsors of the 13th National Immunisation Conference include: the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing; CSL Biotherapies; GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines; Medicines Australia Vaccine Industry Group; Pfizer Vaccines; Sanofi Pasteur; Baxter Healthcare ; and Novartis Vaccines.