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Researcher in bid to lift immunisation uptake in pregnancy

A Western Australian health researcher is investigating strategies for lifting immunisation rates among expectant mothers.

Curtin University epidemiologist Dr Annette Regan is one of eight health researchers who received a NIRIS award in the latest round of the program.

Dr Regan’s research will explore the barriers to women getting vaccinated during pregnancy, as well as the potential health benefits from improving such uptake.

Immunisation during pregnancy enables women to protect themselves and their infants from severe infection. This is because a mother’s antibodies will cross the placenta during pregnancy and protect her infant from infection until he or she is old enough to be immunised independently.

In Australia, influenza and whooping cough immunisation is clinically recommended for pregnant women and available to them for free. However, only a third receive both recommended vaccines during pregnancy.

NIRIS awards help high-performing, new researchers to develop independent research careers. It assists with the costs of infrastructure associated with their research activities.

Under the NIRIS program this year, a total of $120,000 has been distributed in support of researchers undertaking work across fields as diverse as Aboriginal ear health, arthritis, mental health in the LGBTIQ community, epigenetics and food allergies.