Australian Regional Immunisation Alliance
The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the critically important role vaccines can play to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has partnered with the Australian Regional Immunisation Alliance (ARIA) to strengthen and expand immunisation programs in our region that help to protect against a wide range of infectious diseases, as well as supporting efforts to respond to COVID-19.
The ARIA network includes experts from more than 20 research institutions and is hosted by the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS). Members have deep expertise in research and health service delivery in the Indo-Pacific. They work closely with governments, global partners like the WHO and UNICEF and non-government organisations to reduce the likelihood of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. They also have long-standing relationships that make them ideally placed to provide specialist support to our region.
The Australian Government, via the Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security, funds ARIA-Regional Immunisation Support and Engagement (ARIA-RISE) to strengthen routine immunisation programs across the Pacific. This has included deploying technical experts to assist with measles outbreaks in the Pacific and working with WHO to develop immunisation education programs in Papua New Guinea. Further information on ARIA projects may be found at the ARIA Project Hub.
ARIA members are also key partners in Australia’s Vaccine Access and Health Security Initiative. Their work has helped inform national COVID-19 vaccination roll-out plans in Laos, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga and Vanuatu.
In Timor-Leste, for example, DFAT has supported ARIA to deploy Dr Sarah Sheridan, a public health physician, to Timor-Leste. With expertise in applied epidemiology and vaccine preventable disease control, Sarah supports the Ministry of Health deliver its National Plan for Vaccination against COVID-19 by assisting the National Immunisation Technical Advisory Group to review evidence on AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, delivering training to healthcare staff, and supporting policy, planning, and coordination efforts. Her work is complementing the efforts of key partners in Timor-Leste supported by Australia including Menzies School of Health Research, WHO, UNICEF and Gavi.
ARIA member organisations include NCIRS, Menzies School of Health Research, the University of Sydney, University of Melbourne, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Burnet Institute, Australian National University, Kirby Institute, the University of NSW, Telethon Kids Institute and others. We extend our thanks to our wonderful partners at ARIA for their tireless work in Australia and throughout our region.
Read more about ARIA, its members and activities here.