Legionnaires’ disease alert for Sydney CBD. NSW Health

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Immunisation Weekly Update:

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COVID-19 infections surge across NSW

COVID-19 transmission in NSW is currently at a higher level than during last year’s winter peak, while in the greater Sydney area it is approaching high levels not seen since December 2022.

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said “Currently, the Omicron variants EG.5 and JN.1 appear to be driving the majority of transmission in the community, with JN.1 increasing in prevalence. To receive the best protection against serious illness or death from COVID-19, it is important to stay up to date with your recommended COVID-19 vaccinations.”

Check the current vaccine brands available and the latest booster recommendations:

  • People aged 75 years and over should have received two booster doses in 2023
  • People aged 65-74 should have received at least one booster dose in 2023

Providers should recall any patients who have not received all their recommended 2023 booster dose/s. Doses should be administered a soon as a patient is eligible, six months or more following their last COVID-19 vaccine dose.

For more information, see NSW Health Media release.

New measles case in NSW

NSW Health is advising people to be alert for signs and symptoms of measles after being notified of one confirmed case of measles who was infectious while visiting some locations in Sydney’s inner west and south-west. The nine-month-old infant recently returned from overseas where there has been an outbreak of measles in several countries including Pakistan and India.

Sydney Local Health District’s Clinical Director of Public Health Dr Leena Gupta said “This should be a reminder for everyone to check that they are protected against measles, which is very infectious. Anyone born during or after 1966 needs to ensure they have received two doses of measles vaccine, this is particularly important prior to overseas travel, as measles outbreaks are occurring in several regions of the world at the moment,”

Free measles catch-up

The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is safe and effective protection against measles and is free in NSW for anyone born during or after 1966 who hasn’t already had two doses. People who are unsure of whether they have had two doses should get a vaccine, as additional doses are safe. This is particularly important prior to travel. MMR vaccine is available from GPs (all ages) and pharmacies (people over 5 years of age).

Immunisation providers can use the NCIRS Measles vaccination catch-up guide to assist with clinical decision making for MMR vaccine.

Exposure times and locations

People may have been exposed to the case in the following locations:

  • Emirates flight EK 416 from Dubai to Sydney, arriving in Sydney on Wednesday 10 January at 6:36 pm.
  • Sydney Airport – Terminal 1 International Arrivals (including baggage claim and customs) between 6:36 pm and 9pm Wednesday 10 January.
  • Five Star Coffee and Nuts on Yerrick Road, Lakemba, on Friday 12 January between 3pm-5pm.

For more information, see NSW Health Measles alert.

Excess COVID-19 vaccines?

Practices with an oversupply of COVID-19 vaccine stock on hand are encouraged to contact CESPHN via email at immunisation@cesphn.com.au to help facilitate transfer to practices to who require additional supply. Include details on vaccine brand, excess quantity and defrost expiry date.

Catch up on immunisation news!

In case you missed anything, catch up on all the latest immunisation news:

Flu Vaccine 2024TThe TGA has accepted the recommended composition of the influenza vaccines for 2024. Advice on when and how to order 2024 NIP influenza vaccines will be circulated in February 2024.
Novavax supply in 2024Novavax is no longer available to order from CVAS with last doses expiring 31 January 2024. A new Novavax XBB.1.5 formulation (Nuvaxovid) is expected to be available in time for the 2024 autumn respiratory season.
NIPVIP program 2024Providers may discard Zostavax® vaccines prior to expiry date The NIP Vaccinations in Pharmacy (NIPVIP) program commenced on 1 Jan 2024 allowing patients over 5 years of age to access free NIP vaccines in a community pharmacy.
New mandatory AIR fieldsTwo new reporting fields (Vaccine type and Route of administration) will become mandatory from 1 March 2024.
AIR043A reportAIR043A Vaccine Details report can be used to extract and reconcile vaccination information previously reported to the AIR.
Zostavax® disposalProviders may discard Zostavax® vaccines prior to expiry date if there is no patient demand.
COVID-19 Digital CertificateThe COVID-19 Digital Certificate has been decommissioned. AIR Immunisation History Statements can now be used for proof of vaccination.
Pre-travel vaccinationEncourage vaccination ahead of travelling to overseas destinations.
XBB.1.5 vaccine onboardingInformation for the onboarding of the three new monovalent Omicron XBB.1.5 COVID-19 vaccines, including ordering, administration on wastage.
Monovalent XBB.1.5Moderna and Pfizer Monovalent Omicron XBB.1.5 vaccines will be included in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program from 11 Dec 2023.
Moderna BA.4-5 discontinuedAll Moderna BA.4-5 vaccines are expiring 20 Dec 2023 and will no longer be available to order from CVAS.
ProQuad®ProQuad® will no longer be available on the NIP childhood schedule from Nov 2023. Priorix-Tetra® is still NIP funded for MMRV.
Shingrix® vaccine restrictionsNSW Health advised that Shingrix® vaccine ordering will be restricted during the initial roll out of the program until early 2024.
Shingrix® orderingProviders can place orders for NIP Shingrix® vaccine via the NSW Vaccine Centre portal starting Monday, 30 Oct 2023.
Shingrix®From 1 Nov 2023, Shingrix® will replace Zostavax® on the NIP and will be funded for 65+ years, First Nations 50+ years and immunocompromised 18+ years.
Zostavax®Zostavax® funding for people aged 71 to 79 years ends 31 October 2023

Resources: Immunisation

Access to the most recent information is essential, as immunisation advice is updated regularly:

Following vaccination – what to expect and what to do Dec 2023This resource provides easy-to-read information on common reactions that may occur after vaccinations – updated Dec 2023 to include Vaxelis®.
Whooping Cough Day Nov 2023Whooping Cough Day campaign resources about whooping cough and simple ways that people can remain protected.
Adult vaccinations – NIP Factsheet Nov 2023Consumer factsheet about free adult vaccines available on the NIP.
Adult vaccinations – NIP Brochure Nov 2023Consumer brochure about free adult vaccines available on the NIP.
Shingles – Health professionals’ kit Nov 2023Shingles communication resource kit for health – includes email examples, social media content and talking points for practice staff.
Shield yourself from shingles – Resource collection Nov 2023A collection contains fact sheets, brochures, posters and a health professionals’ kit about shingles vaccinations for eligible people.
NSW Immunisation Schedule Oct 2023The NSW Immunisation Schedule was updated October 2023 to include NIP funded Shingrix®. Order here
Shingrix® program advice Oct 2023Factsheet for vaccination providers about the Shingrix program.
Multiple childhood vaccinations Sept 2023NCIRS poster affirming the safety of children receiving more than one vaccine at the same time. Order here
Health Professionals’ Kit – Childhood Immunisation Aug 2023This health professionals kit designed to support conversations with parents and carers about childhood immunisation.
Childhood injection sites poster June 2023Poster for vaccination providers – illustrates recommended sites for childhood vaccinations in NSW. Order here

Resources: COVID-19

The following resources from the Provider resources collection were updated 12 Jan 2024:

COVID-19 vaccination advice is updated regularly, links to the most up-to-date information are listed below:

COVID-19 recommended doses Dec 2023Flowchart outlines ATAGI recommended doses by age and risk factors.
COVID-19 comparison poster Dec 2023Poster outlines key differences between each COVID-19 vaccine available in Australia.
VAE reporting form Dec 2023This form is to help vaccine providers report a vaccine administration error (VAE) under the COVID-19 Vaccination Program
CCB reporting form Dec 2023This form is to help vaccine providers report a potential cold chain breach under the COVID-19 vaccination program.
COVID-19 handbook chapter Nov 2023Chapter for COVID-19 in the Australian Immunisation Handbook was updated 27 Nov 2023 to include the new XBB.1.5 vaccine.
AIR042A COVID-19 report Oct 2023eLearning module and Simulation video for Health Professionals on accessing the AIR042A COVID-19 vaccination report feature from AIR.
COVID-19 Vaccine Reference Guide Oct 2023This guide contains information on storage, handling and administration of COVID-19 vaccines.
COVID-19 Vaccination Training Program (CVTP) Oct 2023This document contains all 18 modules of the former CVTP and their associated resources.