What is it?

‘The Science of Immunisation’ was first published in 2012 and aims to address confusion created by inconsistent information found in public sources such as searching ‘Google’. It details the current situation in immunisation science, including where there is agreement in the scientific community and where the answers aren’t clear.

This document summarises and clarifies the current understanding of immunisation around six key questions:

  1. What is immunisation?
  2. What is a vaccine?
  3. Who benefits from vaccines?
  4. Are vaccines safe?
  5. How are vaccines shown to be safe?
  6. What does the future hold for vaccination?

Is it a reputable source of information and is the information current?

Yes. It was published in November 2012 by the Australian Academy of Science.

Answers to the questions were reviewed by a committee of experts including:

  • Professor Gus Nossal who is an internationally renowned scientist and has been a significant figure in Australia’s medical and scientific community. He was Director of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (1965-1996), Professor of Medical Biology at the University of Melbourne and President of the Australian Academy of Science.
  • Professor Fiona Stanley who is the Founding Director and Patron of the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research and Distinguished Research Professor, School of Paediatrics & Child Health at the University of Western Australia.  She was named Australian of the Year in 2003 and in 2006.

The publication has been endorsed by:

  • The Royal Australasian College of Physicians
  • The Australian Medical Association


The science of immunisation


Reviewed by: Rachael McGuire (SAEFVIC Research Nurse)
Date: February 2018
Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre (MVEC) staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy.
You should not consider the information in this site to be specific, professional medical advice for your personal health or for your family’s personal health. For medical concerns, including decisions about vaccinations, medications and other treatments, you should always consult a healthcare professional.

Melbourne University

Welcome to MVEC

The Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre (MVEC) is a new web-based initiative, providing up-to-date immunisation information for healthcare professionals, parents and the public.

It is a collaboration between The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) and its Melbourne Children’s campus partners (Murdoch Children's Research Institute and The University of Melbourne) and Monash Health.

MVEC aims to address common queries around vaccines and to promote the benefits of immunisation for both children and adults.