Dr Regan is a Research Fellow in the School of Public Health at Curtin University who specialises in the disciplines of epidemiology of communicable diseases, health promotion, infectious diseases, pregnancy, and perinatal and maternal health.
Maternal antibodies have been shown to protect infants against infection in the first six months of life. For this reason, influenza and pertussis vaccines are routinely recommended for pregnant women in several high-income countries, and the World Health Organization lists pregnant women as the highest priority group for seasonal influenza vaccination. Despite evidence supporting the efficacy of maternal vaccination in infants, the impacts of maternal vaccination beyond six months of age have not been well studied. To date, just five studies have investigated the impact on childhood health. In addition to vaccine safety concerns, there is reason to believe antenatal vaccination may result in health benefits later in childhood. This study aimed to conduct a series of longitudinal cohort studies in countries with current maternal vaccination programs.
As a result of the BrightSpark Research Collaboration Award, Dr Regan and Dr Deshayne Fell from the University of Ottawa have developed a common protocol for performing similar analyses across countries that will support future meta-analyses, developed a protocol for systemic review in the field, planned future activities including an international workshop in September 2019 and have at least four collaborative publications currently underway.
The completion of activities supported by this Award has also led to securing additional funding, access to available Canadian data which will be used to support the study, and additional collaborations with Dr Siri Håberg from the Norwegian Public Health Institute and Dr Laura Oakley from the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. The findings from this collaborative study will provide knowledge on the impacts of maternal vaccination in infants above six months of age.