From 1 November 2023, the shingles vaccine Shingrix® will replace Zostavax® on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) schedule for the prevention of shingles and post-herpetic neuralgia. It will be available for eligible people most at risk of complications from shingles.
A 2-dose course of Shingrix® will be available for free under the NIP for:
people aged 65 years and older
First Nations people aged 50 years and older
immunocompromised people aged 18 years and older with medical conditions including:
haemopoietic stem cell transplant
solid organ transplant
advanced or untreated HIV.
Program advice for vaccination providers and consumers:
Further information will be provided from the over the coming weeks to support the introduction of Shingrix® to the NIP. See media release from the Department of Health and Aged Care.
Measles alert in CESPHN
A confirmed case of measles has been identified in an adult passenger who acquired the infection while traveling in Africa and was infectious on an international flight into Sydney. Individuals who may have been exposed to the case should monitor for signs and symptoms of measles until 20 October 2023, as it can take up to 18 days for symptoms to appear after an exposure.
Symptoms of measles include fever, sore eyes, and a cough, followed three or four days later by a red, blotchy, non-itchy, rash spreading from the head and neck to the rest of the body.
MMR vaccine is free on the NIP for children at 12 months and 18 months of age.
Australian Immunisation Handbook: COVID-19 Chapter
The Australian Immunisation Handbook COVID-19 Chapter is now live and will replace the COVID-19 clinical guidance webpage. The Handbook COVID-19 chapter will serve as a primary reference for accurate information on COVID-19 vaccines and will be kept up to date to remain aligned with ATAGI recommendations. COVID-19 vaccination statements will continue to be available on the ATAGI page.
Key message for immunisation providers:
It is the professional obligation of the immunisation provider to ensure they are regularly reviewing the current clinical recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines.
It is also the responsibility of vaccination sites to ensure their policies, website and resources contain current information.
Updates: COVID-19 Vaccine Program
Withdrawal from the COVID-19 Vaccine Program
COVID-19 vaccination sites wishing to withdraw from the program must: ensure all reports are completed in CVAS including delivery acceptance reports and stock reports. Sites cannot be withdrawn until all reports have been finalised in CVAS.
The Pfizer Bivalent (BA.1) 18 years+ (Grey) vaccine has been superseded by the Pfizer Bivalent BA.4-5 12 years + (Grey) vaccine. Last order window for Pfizer BA1 vaccine opens 21 October 2023, and closes 11:59pm 27 October 2023. Final delivery date will be 10 November 2023.
The Moderna Bivalent BA.4-5 12 years + PFS, and Pfizer Bivalent BA.4-5 12 years + (grey cap) vaccines will continue to be available for people aged 12 years and over. Novavax can also be used for those patients who are unable or prefer not to have mRNA vaccines.
COVID-19 Vaccination Training Program – no longer mandatory
The COVID-19 Vaccination Training Program (CVTP) came to an end on 1 October 2023 and is no longer a requirement to participate in the COVID-19 Vaccine Program, and the COVID-19 learning platform has closed.
Healthcare providers who are immunisers will need to ensure that their professional immunisation training, as required by jurisdictional and professional standards, is up to date.
Updated resources: COVID-19 booster advice
The following COVID-19 vaccine posters have been updated and supersedes all previous versions:
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