Evaluating the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 and influenza vaccines in residential aged care


Elderly residents cared for in residential aged care facilities (RACF) are at increased risk of morbidity and death from both influenza and SARS-CoV-2 infections. Because of this, they and are a priority group for vaccination against COVID-19.

Clinical trials of vaccines are rarely conducted in subjects who are frail and/or have multiple comorbidities, meaning safety and efficacy of vaccines for the older population can only be established once vaccines are implemented.

In Australia, monitoring of adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) and adverse events of special interest (AESI) through current surveillance platforms may not provide a full snapshot of vaccine safety in the RACF population.

What we are doing

COVIRAC is collaborating with Health Metrics, an organisation that provides an electronic health record (EHR) system for some Australian RACFs, to collect de-identified EHR data in near real-time. Frequent collection of these data will allow for monitoring and evaluation of:

  1. Infections of COVID-19 and Influenza in the RACF setting and assess the effectiveness of COVID-19 and Influenza vaccines over time
  2. Adverse events following COVID-19 or Influenza vaccination and assess the safety of these vaccines in the RACF population
  3. The requirement for medical attendance (GP/Geriatrician visit or transfer to hospital) in the event of COVID-19/Influenza infection or an AEFI occurs, and assess the effectiveness and safety of these vaccines with respective to disease severity



COVIRAC will provide an additional multi-purpose surveillance platform to monitor infections of COVID-19 and Influenza, along with AEFI after COVID-19 and Influenza vaccination in the Australian RACF population. This platform has the flexibility to monitor new/emerging adverse events being detected as a signal in other populations. The near real-time findings will provide insight into the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 and Influenza vaccines in the RACF population, and assist with tailoring future vaccination programs.

Design Schema

Figure 1. Schematic of measuring vaccine safety & effectiveness for COVID-19 vaccine.


Figure 2. Schematic of measuring vaccine safety & effectiveness for Influenza vaccine.



Professor Jim Buttery

Chair of Health Informatics

[email protected]


A/Prof Hazel Clothier

Epidemiology Lead

[email protected]


Jesse Fryk

Epidemiologist, SAEFVIC

[email protected]