As the world awaits the release of an approved COVID-19 Vaccine, the Australian government through the Department of Health, has begun preparing for the roll out of this vaccine through several research and evaluation tasks. These tasks provide opportunities for industry to undertake independent evaluations and provide recommendations on current procedures with respect to vaccine roll out and the management of adverse effects.
The first opportunity issued this week is for the Evaluation of the 2020 influenza season and assessment of system readiness for the implementation of a COVID-19 vaccine. This year’s influenza season saw a record number of seasonal influenza vaccines made available for the Australian market, approximately 17.6 million doses. This is an increase from 13.2 million doses in 2019 and 11 million doses in 2018. This demand was believed to have been driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and individuals looking to protect themselves as the pandemic evolved. The Department has received strong stakeholder feedback on issues with regards to supply, distribution, access and availability of vaccines in a short time period, which need to be taken into account with the roll out of a COVID-19 vaccine. Therefore, this RFT is seeking a provider to assess the capability, capacity and potential constraints of the current system with respect to the roll out of future influenza seasons, as well as a potential COVID-19 program. This can be achieved by evaluating the most recent influenza season (2020) and identifying what system improvements could be made in anticipation of such programs. These improvements are expected to relate to forecasting, supply, distribution and vaccine administration, but may also include stakeholder engagement, communication and surveillance and monitoring activities. The closing date for this RFT is 28th September 2020 and the timeframe for delivery is 9 October 2020 to 21 December 2020 with an option to extend if required.
The second opportunity is for the Provision of an Expanded and Enhanced Active Surveillance System to Monitor Adverse Events Following Immunisation. This RFT seeks a provider to build upon and incorporate the existing safety networks to proactively monitor adverse events following immunisation. This study is to take into account all National Immunisation Program vaccines and vaccines of special interest which will include active monitoring of any adverse events following immunisation with a potential COVID-19 vaccine. The Department is seeking an organisation with demonstrated experience in research and surveillance activities, or the ability to create a consortium of experts. The Closing Date for this RFT is 21st September 2020 with a project commencement expected by December 2020. The project will run for a minimum of two years, up to a maximum of four years.