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Strengthening immunisation data and vaccine uptake in Lao PDR using electronic immunisation registers

ARIA members are playing a key role in a collaboration to strengthen vaccine data in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) through evaluation of the country’s electronic immunisation registry. 

The aim of this project – which is being led by ARIA founding member and University of Sydney Associate Professor Meru Sheel – is to identify opportunities to improve the implementation and ongoing use of the registry as part of the national immunisation program in Lao PDR.

An immunisation registry is a national record of vaccines administered to individuals within a country. Data from these registries enable governments to track and measure vaccination coverage, as well as identify people who may have missed vaccine doses – and then take actions to improve coverage where gaps are found. 

While immunisation registries have existed in Australia and other high-income countries for over 20 years, their use in low- and middle-income countries is still emerging. 

This project aligns closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) Immunization Agenda 2030, which has the goal of improving coverage and equity across all vaccines – and ‘leaving no one behind’.

Collaboration and knowledge exchange at heart of project

This project, led by the University of Sydney Infectious Diseases, Immunisation and Emergencies group, is a collaboration between the Lao PDR Ministry of Health, the Clinton Health Access Initiative, UNICEF and WHO. It comprises two core components: 

  • a research project evaluating the electronic immunisation registry in Lao PDR
  • knowledge exchange through a study tour focused on the Australian Immunisation Register.
A group of health care workers discussing vaccine uptake in Lao PDR
Outreach clinic in Vientiane Province, Lao PDR. Photo: Dr Gemma Saravanos, University of Sydney


Evaluation of the registry

The evaluation is investigating how immunisation data are collected and analysed in Lao PDR, as well as how use of these data can be improved. The project team is collecting data on the experiences of Lao PDR health workers and policymakers who use the Lao PDR electronic immunisation registry. 

This work will support the efforts of the ministry of health to expand the roll-out of the registry. Recommendations to improve its use and performance will be provided.

Study visit

In October 2023, Lao Ministry of Health delegates participated in a study visit to Australia to learn about immunisation registries and the Australian Immunisation Register specifically. They were joined by immunisation and digital health experts and delegates from ministries of health in Bhutan, Indonesia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. 

The tour was hosted by the Infectious Diseases, Immunisation and Emergencies (IDIE) research group at the University of Sydney, along with the Sydney Infectious Diseases Institute, the Linked Immunisation Action Network and the Institute for Health Policy (Sri Lanka). 

Delegates had the opportunity to interact with a number of collaborators in Australia, including from the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care, the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance, the Western Sydney Public Health Unit and the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 

Participants shared experiences, lessons and opportunities to strengthen immunisation registries in Asia, Latin America and Australia. The study visit allowed attendees to better understand the contexts of different health systems, and how electronic immunisation registries can contribute to improving vaccination coverage and uptake as well as supporting outbreak response.

This project was made possible through funding from the Australian Government to ARIA. The study tour was also supported by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the LINKED Immunisation Action Network.