Acute respiratory infections are the most common cause of hospitalisation for First Nation children in the Northern Territory. Several years ago, the Team showed that First Nation infants with lower vitamin D levels at birth were more likely to be hospitalised with an acute respiratory infection during their first year of life. Recently, an evaluation of several randomised clinical trials has suggested that vitamin D supplementation can reduce the risk of acute respiratory infections by over 20%. Therefore, this study will investigate vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy and early infancy, and the incidence of infant acute respiratory infections.


The aim of the study is to determine whether daily vitamin D supplantation, compared to placebo, given to mothers (from 32 weeks gestation to birth) and their infants (from birth until 4 months of age) reduces acute lower respiratory infection in their infants first year of life.

Secondary aims include:

  • To evaluate vitamin D levels in breast milk and circulating levels in mothers and infants
  • To evaluate the effect of maternal immunisation and infant supplementation on the infant immune response
  • To determine the effect of maternal immunisation and infant supplementation on the prevalence of respiratory pathogens

This study is funded by National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and is being conducted in urban and remote First Nation communities in the Northern territory.

Lead investigator
Dr Michael Binks
Chief investigator
Prof Anne Chang
Project type
Project period