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1.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-294433

ABSTRACT

Background: Behavioural and social drivers (BeSD) of COVID-19 vaccine acceptance among Australian healthcare workers (HCW) living and working in regional areas are not well studied. Understanding local HCW’s COVID-19 risk perceptions and potential barriers to COVID-19 vaccine uptake is crucial to supporting rollout. We aimed to understand COVID-19 vaccine drivers among HCW in Central Queensland (CQ), Australia.<br><br>Method: A cross sectional online survey of HCWs in CQ between 17 May and 31 May 2021, based on BeSD framework adapted from the World Health Organization Data for Action guidance consisting of the five instrument domains: what people think and feel;social processes;motivations;practical issues;and vaccination uptake.<br><br>Results: Of 240 HCWs within CQHHS who responded, 78% were female. 64% percent of participating HCWs received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and of those who had not yet received a vaccine, 53% said they were willing to receive one. Factors associated with vaccine acceptance included: belief that the vaccine was important for their health (81%;OR: 7.2, CI: 3.5-15.5), belief that their family and friends want them to have the vaccine (64%;OR: 6.7, 2.9-16.7), trust in the vaccine (72%;OR: 6.4, CI: 3.5-12.0), confidence in being able to answer patient questions about the vaccine (99%).<br><br>Conclusions: These findings suggest a combination of communications and educational material framed around the benefits and social norms of vaccination, along with materials addressing vaccine safety concerns will encourage HCW to take up a COVID-19 vaccine.<br><br>Funding Information: This work was supported by a Queensland Advancing Clinical Research Fellowship awarded to Prof. Gulam Khandaker by Queensland Health's Health Innovation, Investment and Research Office (HIRO), Office of the Director-General.<br><br>Declaration of Interests: Professor Gulam Khandaker has received funding from Sanofi Pasteur for conducting research other than this. All other authors declare no competing interests.<br><br>Ethics Approval Statement: Electronic consent was obtained from all participants. Ethical approval was obtained from the CQHHS Human Research Ethics Committee (LNR2021QCQ69608).

2.
Commun Dis Intell (2018) ; 452021 Oct 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1498419

ABSTRACT

Abstract: For 27 years, national prospective data on selected rare childhood diseases have been collected monthly by the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit (APSU) from paediatricians and other clinical specialists who report cases in children aged up to 16 years. We report here the annual results of APSU surveillance in 2020 for ten rare communicable diseases and complications of communicable diseases, namely: acute flaccid paralysis (AFP); congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection; neonatal herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection; perinatal exposure to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); paediatric HIV infection; severe complications of seasonal influenza; juvenile onset recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (JoRRP); congenital rubella syndrome; congenital varicella syndrome; and neonatal varicella infection. We describe the results for each disease in the context of the total period of study, including demographics, clinical characteristics, treatment and short-term outcomes. Despite challenges presented by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020, more than 1,400 paediatricians reported regularly to the APSU and an overall monthly reporting rate of > 90% was achieved. The minimum AFP target of 1 case per 100,000 children aged less than 15 years was achieved and there were few cases of vaccine-preventable diseases (JoRRP, rubella, varicella). However, high cases of congenital CMV, neonatal HSV and perinatal exposure to HIV persist. There were no severe complications of seasonal influenza reported for the first time in 13 years. This is consistent with other surveillance data reporting a decline of influenza and other communicable diseases in 2020, and likely reflects the wider effects of public health measures to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the Australian community.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Australia/epidemiology , Child , Female , Humans , Infant, Newborn , Pregnancy , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
3.
Environ Chem Lett ; : 1-12, 2021 Sep 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1439727

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is continuously evolving and four variants of concern have been identified so far, including Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta variants. Here we review the indirect effect of preventive measures such as the implementation of lockdowns, mandatory face masks, and vaccination programs, to control the spread of the different variants of this infectious virus on the environment. We found that all these measures have a considerable environmental impact, notably on waste generation and air pollution. Waste generation is increased due to the implementation of all these preventive measures. While lockdowns decrease air pollution, unsustainable management of face mask waste and temperature-controlled supply chains of vaccination potentially increases air pollution.

5.
PLoS One ; 16(5): e0251737, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1238769

ABSTRACT

IMPORTANCE: During pandemics Agent Based Models (ABMs) can model complex, fine-grained behavioural interactions occurring in social networks, that contribute to disease transmission by novel viruses such as SARS-CoV-2. OBJECTIVE: We present a new agent-based model (ABM) called the Discrete-Event, Simulated Social Agent based Network Transmission model (DESSABNeT) and demonstrate its ability to model the spread of COVID-19 in large cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Gold Coast. Our aim was to validate the model with its disease dynamics and underlying social network. DESIGN: DESSABNeT relies on disease transmission within simulated social networks. It employs an epidemiological SEIRD+M (Susceptible, exposed, infected, recovered, died and managed) structure. One hundred simulations were run for each city, with simulated social restrictions closely modelling real restrictions imposed in each location. MAIN OUTCOME(S) AND MEASURE(S): The mean predicted daily incidence of COVID-19 cases were compared to real case incidence data for each city. Reff and health service utilisation outputs were compared to the literature, or for the Gold Coast with daily incidence of hospitalisation. RESULTS: DESSABNeT modelled multiple physical distancing restrictions and predicted epidemiological outcomes of Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast, validating this model for future simulation work. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: DESSABNeT is a valid platform to model the spread of COVID-19 in large cities in Australia and potentially internationally. The platform is suitable to model different combinations of social restrictions, or to model contact tracing, predict, and plan for, the impact on hospital and ICU admissions, and deaths; and also the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and optimal social restrictions during vaccination.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , Disease Transmission, Infectious/statistics & numerical data , Social Behavior , Urban Population/statistics & numerical data , Australia , COVID-19/epidemiology , Disease Transmission, Infectious/prevention & control , Humans , Models, Statistical , Quarantine/statistics & numerical data
6.
Aust N Z J Public Health ; 45(4): 344-347, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1221531

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: We report a survey in regional Queensland to understand the reasons for suboptimal uptake of the COVIDSafe app. METHODS: A short five-minute electronic survey disseminated to healthcare professionals, mining groups and school communities in the Central Queensland region. Free text responses and their topics were modelled using natural language processing and a latent Dirichlet model. RESULTS: We received a total of 723 responses; of these, 69% had downloaded the app and 31% had not. The respondents' reasons for not downloading the app were grouped under four topics: lack of perceived risk of COVID-19/lack of perceived need and privacy issues; phone-related issues; tracking and misuse of data; and trust, security and credibility. Among the 472 people who downloaded the app and provided text amenable to text mining, the two topics most commonly listed were: to assist with contact tracing; and to return to normal. CONCLUSIONS: This survey of a regional population found that lack of perceived need, concerns around privacy and technical difficulties were the major barriers to users downloading the application. Implications for public health: Health promotion campaigns aimed at increasing the uptake of the COVIDSafe app should focus on promoting how the app will assist with contact tracing to help return to 'normal'. Additionally, health promotors should address the app's impacts on privacy, people's lack of perceived need for the app and technical barriers.


Subject(s)
Attitude to Computers , COVID-19/prevention & control , Confidentiality/psychology , Data Accuracy , Mobile Applications/statistics & numerical data , Preventive Medicine/statistics & numerical data , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Queensland , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires
7.
EClinicalMedicine ; 33: 100771, 2021 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1120907

ABSTRACT

Background: COVID-19 outbreaks in aged care facilities (ACFs) often have devastating consequences. However, epidemiologically these outbreaks are not well defined. We aimed to define such outbreaks in ACFs by systematically reviewing literature published during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: We searched 11 bibliographic databases for literature published on COVID-19 in ACFs between December 2019 and September 2020. Original studies reporting extractable epidemiological data as part of outbreak investigations or non-outbreak surveillance of ACFs were included in this systematic review and meta-analysis. PROSPERO registration: CRD42020211424. Findings: We identified 5,148 publications and selected 49 studies from four continents reporting data on 214,380 residents in 8,502 ACFs with 25,567 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Aged care residents form a distinct vulnerable population with single-facility attack rates of 45% [95% CI 32-58%] and case fatality rates of 23% [95% CI 18-28%]. Of the cases, 31% [95% CI 28-34%] were asymptomatic. The rate of hospitalization amongst residents was 37% [95% CI 35-39%]. Data from 21 outbreaks identified a resident as the index case in 58% of outbreaks and a staff member in 42%. Findings from the included studies were heterogeneous and of low to moderate quality in risk of bias assessment. Interpretation: The clinical presentation of COVID-19 varies widely in ACFs residents, from asymptomatic to highly serious cases. Preventing the introduction of COVID-19 into ACFs is key, and both residents and staff are a priority group for COVID-19 vaccination. Rapid diagnosis, identification of primary and secondary cases and close contacts plus their isolation and quarantine are of paramount importance. Funding: Queensland Advancing Clinical Research Fellowship awarded to Prof. Gulam Khandaker by Queensland Health's Health Innovation, Investment and Research Office (HIRO), Office of the Director-General.

8.
Commun Dis Intell (2018) ; 452021 Feb 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1106756

ABSTRACT

Abstract: The implementation of public health measures to control the current COVID-19 pandemic (such as wider lockdowns, overseas travel restrictions and physical distancing) is likely to have affected the spread of other notifiable diseases. This is a descriptive report of communicable disease surveillance in Central Queensland (CQ) for six months (1 April to 30 September 2020) after the introduction of physical distancing and wider lockdown measures in Queensland. The counts of notifiable communicable diseases in CQ in the six months were observed and compared with the average for the same months during the years 2015 to 2019. During the study's six months, there were notable decreases in notifications of most vaccine-preventable diseases such as influenza, pertussis and rotavirus. Conversely, notifications increased for disease groups such as blood-borne viruses, sexually transmitted infections and vector-borne diseases. There were no reported notifications for dengue fever and malaria which are mostly overseas acquired. The notifications of some communicable diseases in CQ were variably affected and the changes correlated with the implementation of the COVID-19 public health measures. Background: The current COVID-19 pandemic has led to some significant changes to local, regional and national public health practices including social distancing and wider lockdown. These measures have been previously reported to be associated with reductions in the incidence of gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases as well as of other airborne transmitted agents.1,2 A preliminary analysis was conducted assessing the impact of these measures on nationally notifiable diseases across Australia;3 however, the impact of these measures on communicable diseases within regional Australia is not well established. Like most regional areas, Central Queensland (CQ) has a lower population density and considerable distance from major cities; it will be informative to understand how these measures impact on notifiable conditions in this regional setting. We aimed to identify the patterns of change in reported notifiable conditions to the Central Queensland Public Health Unit (CQPHU), during a six-month period (1 April to 30 September 2020) following the implementation of COVID-19 measures. Here, we compare these notifications to the surveillance data for the same six-month period for the previous five years (2015 to 2019). Methods: The study encompasses all notifiable conditions reported from CQ, which covers approximately 226,000 population and is spread over 117,588 square kilometres. Communicable diseases data were retrieved from the Queensland Notifiable Conditions System (NoCS), an online epidemiological database, from 1 January 2015 to 30 September 2020. The data were collected under the Public Health Act 2005, a legislative authority that provides permission to access health information. Permission to publish was given by the Communicable Diseases Branch of Queensland. Data were extracted on selected notifiable diseases in Queensland: blood-borne viruses (BBV), gastrointestinal diseases, sexually transmissible infections (STIs), vaccine-preventable diseases (VPDs), vector-borne diseases, zoonotic diseases and other diseases. For each disease, the count for six months following the implementation of COVID-19 public health measures (1 April to 30 September 2020) was compared with the average for the same six-month period during the years 2015 to 2019. Results: From 1 April to 30 September 2020, after the implementation of Queensland's COVID-19 preventive measures, there was a decrease seen in several diseases notifications reported to the CQPHU, mostly VPDs, when compared with the same months for each of 2015 to 2019 and for the 5-year average (2015-2019) for those months (Table 1). However, increases in notifications for April-September 2020 were observed in a greater number of other notifiable disease groups.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Diseases/epidemiology , Public Health/methods , Animals , Communicable Disease Control , Disease Notification , Disease Outbreaks , Humans , Incidence , Pandemics , Population Surveillance , Queensland/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Zoonoses/epidemiology
9.
PLoS One ; 15(10): e0240287, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-864256

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In this large-scale cluster-randomized controlled trial (cRCT) we sought to assess the effectiveness of facemasks against viral respiratory infections. METHODS AND RESULTS: Over three consecutive Hajj seasons (2013, 2014, 2015) pilgrims' tents in Makkah were allocated to 'facemask' or 'no facemask' group. Fifty facemasks were offered to participants in intervention tents, to be worn over four days, and none were offered to participants in control tents. All participants recorded facemask use and respiratory symptoms in health diaries. Nasal swabs were collected from the symptomatic for virus detection by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Clinical symptoms and laboratory results were analyzed by 'intention- to-treat' and 'per-protocol'. A total of 7687 adult participants from 318 tents were randomized: 3864 from 149 tents to the intervention group, and 3823 from 169 tents to the control group. Participants were aged 18 to 95 (median 34, mean 37) years, with a male to female ratio of 1:1.2. Overall, respiratory viruses were detected in 277 of 650 (43%) nasal/pharyngeal swabs collected from symptomatic pilgrims. Common viruses were rhinovirus (35.1%), influenza (4.5%) and parainfluenza (1.7%). In the intervention arm, respectively 954 (24.7%) and 1842 (47.7%) participants used facemasks daily and intermittently, while in the control arm, respectively 546 (14.3%) and 1334 (34.9%) used facemasks daily and intermittently. By intention-to-treat analysis, facemask use did not seem to be effective against laboratory-confirmed viral respiratory infections (odds ratio [OR], 1.4; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.9 to 2.1, p = 0.18) nor against clinical respiratory infection (OR, 1.1; 95% CI, 0.9 to 1.4, p = 0.40). Similarly, in a per-protocol analysis, facemask use did not seem to be effective against laboratory-confirmed viral respiratory infections (OR 1.2, 95% CI 0.9-1.7, p = 0.26) nor against clinical respiratory infection (OR 1.3, 95% CI 1.0-1.8, p = 0.06). CONCLUSION: This trial was unable to provide conclusive evidence on facemask efficacy against viral respiratory infections most likely due to poor adherence to protocol.


Subject(s)
Masks , Respiratory Tract Infections/epidemiology , Respiratory Tract Infections/prevention & control , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Confidence Intervals , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Odds Ratio , Saudi Arabia/epidemiology , Young Adult
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