School of Population Health

Immunisation Policy and Practice (PHCM9050)

image - Immunisation Policy and Practice


This course is designed for those working in public health or related disciplines who have an interest in immunisation, and would like to broaden their knowledge and skills. This course will provide students with a comprehensive appreciation of vaccine-preventable disease epidemiology and national immunisation policies relevant to low, middle and high resourced countries and in the context of global immunisation goals.

The course encompasses diverse aspects from vaccine development and clinical trials, policy development, program implementation and evaluation, vaccine safety and public perceptions of risk. This course aims to provide graduates with knowledge and skills in the epidemiological principles and policy issues required to develop, implement and evaluate immunisation programs. The course draws on internationally recognised experts with a breadth of experience, and has an emphasis on practical learning experiences using real case scenarios. PHCM9050 Immunisation Policy and Practice will consist of weekly lectures and tutorials.

It is important that students enrolling in the course have knowledge and experience in public health or a health-related area. Interested students, who are not enrolled in a Masters program offered by the School of Public Health and Community Medicine will need to contact the course convenor, who will assess whether they have the appropriate background, before enrolling in PHCM9050 Immunisation Policy and Practice.

Credit points

This course is a core course in the Master of Infectious Diseases Intelligence program, and is also an elective course in the Master of Public Health, Master of International Public Health and the Master of Health Management programs. It comprises 6 units of credit towards the total required for completion of the study program.

Mode of study

External (Distance) and Internal (Face-to-Face) classes on campus.

Course aim

This course aims to develop students’ capacity to develop, implement and evaluate immunisation programs. It will provide students with the skills to interpret epidemiological data to support policy decision making with application to different resource settings. Students will gain an awareness of how a range of factors inform and influence immunisation policy and practice in Australia and in a global context, developing students’ ability to critically evaluate new and existing vaccines and programs.

Course Outcomes
On completion of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Recognise and interpret the complex issues shaping immunisation policy and practice, including changing disease epidemiology, vaccine coverage, adverse events and risk communication and social and behavioural factors, for a range of vaccine-preventable diseases and settings;
  2. Apply the core concepts of immunity and vaccination to a range of contexts;
  3. Describe the process of pre-licensure vaccine development, including clinical trials evaluating vaccine efficacy and safety;
  4. Identify the data requirements, and analyse and interpret data, to assess the need for an immunisation program and the impact of a program on the epidemiology of vaccine-preventable diseases;
  5. Determine appropriate methods used to monitor determinants of immunisation program delivery including vaccination coverage, vaccine effectiveness and adverse events following immunisation;
  6. Recognise and explain factors that influence vaccine coverage in the population, including equity and access, social/behavioural factors and public perceptions about vaccine safety and effectiveness and determine their impact on program delivery;
  7. Recognise and apply the principals of process, outcome and impact evaluation of immunisation programs to a range of vaccine-preventable diseases and settings.
Learning and teaching rationale

Core content is provided through lectures, including guest expert lectures. Weekly small group activities, which include the use of case studies and online student discussions, have been designed to engage students in the learning process, encourage active and self-directed learning and provides opportunities for students to debate key issues in immunisation. Postgraduate teaching aims to support students in developing their capacity for inquiry and critical thinking. In this course, an active learning approach is encouraged through strategies which include interactive instruction, self-directed learning, experience-based learning and peer-learning.

Teaching strategies

PHCM9050 consists of a mix of pre-recorded and live lectures, online activities and small group discussion facilitated through Blackboard Collaborate Ultra throughout the term. Students are strongly encouraged to read the pre-readings prior to each week’s lecture. Pre-readings are listed in the Module course notes. The lectures consist of either video recordings and accompanying slides or live lectures facilitated through Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. Each week, expert-led lectures provide core content material which are followed by case studies or active discussion, either during synchronous tutorials or through asynchronous discussion forums, providing opportunities for students to explore the course content.


Assessment Task 1 - Individual Report: Case studies in immunisation
Weighting: 20%
Length: 1000 words

Assessment Task 2 - Peer-led online discussion forum
Weighting: 35%
Length: N/A

Assessment Task 3 - Individual Report: Evaluating the impact of an immunisation program
Weighting: 45%
Length: 2500 words

Readings and resources

Learning resources for this course consist of the following:

  1. Course notes and readings
  2. Lectures slides
  3. Lecture recordings
  4. Relevant course resources for each Module
  5. Materials shared as part of the online learning assessment component.

There are no set text books for this course. Relevant course resources are set out in the course notes at the end of each Module. General resources are listed in the course outline.