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Immunisation Weekly Update:

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Webinar: New shingles vaccine on Australia’s NIP

In this webinar, learn about the new National Immunisation Program (NIP) shingles vaccine Shingrix®, which from 1 November 2023 will replace Zostavax® for eligible people most at risk of complications from shingles (herpes zoster). Questions during the webinar will be answered by NCIRS experts either online or during the live question-and-answer panel.

  • Date: Tuesday 7 November
  • Time: 12:00–1:30 p.m. AEDT
  • Register

Leading domestic and international clinicians and researchers will present on:

  • the disease burden of shingles in Australia
  • details about Shingrix®, including clinical trial results and mechanism of protection
  • the new Australian Shingrix® vaccination program, including eligibility for NIP-funded vaccine, with a focus on older people, people with immunocompromise and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • the US experience of implementing a national Shingrix® program.

Shingles NIP program advice

From 1 November 2023, there are changes to the shingles vaccination schedule under the National Immunisation Program (NIP). Key points:

  • From 1 November 2023, the shingles vaccine Shingrix® will replace Zostavax® on the NIP schedule. The groups eligible to receive the free vaccine will also change. The NIP will fund a 2-dose course for eligible people.
  • Shingrix® is a non-live vaccine. It’s highly effective in the prevention of herpes zoster (shingles) and its complications, including post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), in both immunocompetent and immunocompromised people.

Program advice factsheets:

HPV vaccine – New overdue reminder letters

Current reminder letters – adolescent overdue reminder letters are sent to individuals at 14.5 years, 17 years and 18 years of age.

New reminder letters – following the HPV vaccine schedule changes in February 2023, Services Australia will introduce two new overdue reminder letter milestones.

  • From early November 2023, additional reminder letters will be sent to individuals who are considered overdue for HPV vaccine at 21 years and 24 years of age. This will support catch-up vaccinations before individuals turn 26 years of age and are no longer eligible for free HPV vaccines.
  • Additionally, individuals aged between 24 years and 25 years and 8 months who are considered overdue for HPV vaccine will receive a one-off reminder letter in November 2023.

Men B vaccine – New AIR due and overdue rules

New AIR due and overdue rules for meningococcal B (men B) vaccine will be introduced for First Nations children up to 2 years of age. This will support the extension of the Bexsero® catch-up program, from mid-October 2023.

Key messages:

  • The new rules for men B will not impact family assistance payments.
  • Immunisation History Statements for First Nations children will display when they are due for men B vaccine.
  • Childhood overdue reminder letters will include men B when the vaccine is considered overdue.
  • View due date – vaccination providers will be able to view when a First Nations child is due for men B vaccine (on the AIR site or AIR integrated clinical software).
  • AIR overdue reports – men B antigen will be available to be selected when requesting overdue reports via the AIR site. This will help with identifying individuals who may require catch-up men B vaccinations.

The AIR cannot identify individuals who are medically at risk and eligible to receive the meningococcal B vaccine under the NIP. Providers should refer to the National Immunisation Program Schedule in the relevant state or territory for details regarding eligibility for meningococcal B vaccine funded under the NIP.

Highlights: Immunisation News

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

NSW Cold Chain Audit

From Oct 2023, CCM audits will commence for general practices and pharmacies administering NIP-funded vaccines.

Online CCB reporting form

From Aug 2023, SESLHD will only accept online form to report cold chain breaches.
Scholarship: Nurse immuniser course

Limited scholarships available for Authorised Nurse Immuniser course.
NIP Shingrix – now for 65+ years

From 1 Nov 2023, Shingrix® will replace Zostavax® on the NIP and will be funded for 65+ years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 50+ years and immunocompromised 18+ years
Zostavax® funding end soon

Zostavax® funding for people aged 71 to 79 years ends 31 October 2023
COVID-19 training in NSW

Authorised nurse and pharmacist immunisers administering COVID-19 vaccines must comply with NSW requirements.

Highlights: Immunisation Resources

Immunisation information and advice are updated regularly – accessing the most recent information is essential:

Shingrix – program advice for vaccination providers

Published 8 Oct 2023 – updated program fact sheet for vaccination providers.
COVID-19 vaccine – ATAGI recommended doses

Updated 9 Oct 2023 – outlines recommended doses by age and risk factors.
COVID-19 vaccine – Comparison poster

Updated 9 Oct 2023 – shows the key differences between each COVID-19 vaccine available in Australia.
New COVID-19 Chapter

Updated 05 Oct 2023 – Australian
Immunisation Handbook information
about COVID-19 vaccine
New SKAI website

Sharing Knowledge About Immunisation (SKAI) resources to support conversations about vaccination.

New Multiple Vaccinations For Children poster

Published Sept 2023 – NCIRS resource affirming the safety of children receiving more than one vaccine at the same time