Using surveillance data to improve pneumococcal vaccination uptake following invasive pneumococcal disease in Queensland, Australia between 01 July 2020–31 December 2021

Vaccine preventable diseases
Health Information Systems (Including Surveillance)

From 01 July 2020, a previous episode of invasive pneumococcal disease was added as a risk factor for recommendation and eligibility to receive funded pneumococcal vaccines under the National Immunisation Program in Australia. This programmatic change followed recent Australian evidence that this group are at increased risk of recurrent disease.

Our objective was to pilot a system to inform general practitioners (GPs) of their patient’s vaccine eligibility in response to a public health notification of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) in Queensland. GP details were added to surveillance data collected for IPD and used to generate vaccine recommendation letters. Evidence of pneumococcal vaccination in the Australian Immunisation Register was recorded. Pre-letter pneumococcal vaccination coverage was assessed for people with an IPD notification in Queensland between 01 July 2020 and 30 June 2021. Post-letter coverage was assessed for people with an IPD notification between 01 July 2020 and 31 December 2021.

GP detail capture and letter generation was successfully added to existing IPD surveillance processes. For 381 IPD notifications in Queensland between 01 July 2020 and 31 December 2021, 337 letters (88%) were distributed. Pneumococcal vaccination after IPD notification increased from 30% to 51% in pre- and post-letter assessments (P<0.001). Three hospital and health services districts accounted for 47% of notifications. Across these districts, pneumococcal vaccination after IPD diagnosis increased from 27% to 52% (P<0.001).

This pilot demonstrated that, with minor additions, IPD surveillance data could be used to drive public health action; the final step in the public health surveillance cycle. Improvements in post-IPD vaccination uptake were achieved for people with a public health notification of IPD in Queensland.

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