Optimal, evidence-based use of vaccines

Immunization is one of the most powerful tools available in medicine. The number of available vaccines expands each year, reducing infection and disease. Optimal use of these new products can be hampered by gaps in understanding the disease epidemiology, vaccine effectiveness or longevity of protection provided. These gaps also affect decision-making related to resource allocation and prioritization of immunization programs. Dr. Jan Ochnio is working to close these gaps by gathering missing evidence to facilitate vaccine use in several viral and bacterial infections. As a MSFHR Scholar, Ochnio investigated the risk of hepatitis A for children in specific areas of the province. Now, his research is focusing on two areas: investigations of hepatitis A virus infections using population-based assays and saliva/mail-based surveys, and optimizing prevention of meningococcal infections by measuring the levels and duration of protection offered by the various meningococcal immunization schedules in Canada. A better understanding of the most efficient strategies for using vaccines could lead to substantial savings in health care by omitting unnecessary doses and the related costs of providing these doses. Ochnio’s findings will be shared with public health policy experts to be used in finely-tuned vaccination programs and policies that will provide optimal protection for Canadians.