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Welcome to the Science Summit at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA77)

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avatar for Jodie McVernon

Jodie McVernon

The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity
Professor and Director of Doherty Epidemiology
Name: Jodie McVernon
Title: Modelling to inform strategy and tactics in Australia’s COVID-19 response
Summary:
The Western Pacific Region was unique globally in its experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, with many island nations including Australia using strict border controls to delay entry of the virus over an extended period. This initial phase of ‘anticipation’ was followed by a strong suppression strategy achieved through active case and contact management, supported by stringent social restrictions as required. Effective ‘elimination’ was sustained through most subnational jurisdictions through to mid 2021, at which point ‘vaccination’ provided a pathway to reconnecting within and beyond national borders. Importation of the highly transmissible Omicron variant rapidly transitioned Australia’s COVID-19 epidemic from low to high prevalence, although burden was substantively mitigated by high prior vaccine coverage. By late 2022, high ‘saturation’ of infection and vaccination coverage had been achieved, making the population relatively resilient to the emergence of BA4/5. This presentation will review the role of modelling in guiding strategic policy decision making within and between these four stages of Australia’s pandemic response.
SHORT BIO
Professor Jodie McVernon is a public health physician and epidemiologist. She has extensive expertise in clinical vaccine trials, epidemiologic studies and mathematical modelling of infectious diseases, gained in Oxford, London and Melbourne. For the past 15 years she has been building capacity in infectious diseases modelling in Australia to inform immunization and pandemic preparedness policy. She has led nationally distributed networks of modellers informing responses to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic and the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Professor and Director of Doherty Epidemiology
Head, VIDRL Epidemiology Unit
Department of Infectious Diseases
Dame Kate Campbell Fellow
j.mcvernon@unimelb.edu.au
The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity
792 Elizabeth Street | Melbourne | Victoria | Australia | 3000
doherty.edu.au