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Immunisation Weekly Update:

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Increase in COVID-19 infection cases

ATAGI notes a recent increase in COVID-19 cases since November 2023 across Australia and encourages all eligible people who have not yet had their recommended 2023 COVID-19 vaccine dose/s to receive them as soon as possible.

  • A first 2023 dose is recommended for all adults aged ≥65 years and at-risk adults aged 18–64 years, 6 months after their most recent COVID-19 vaccine dose. A 2023 dose may be considered for other adults aged 18–64 years.
  • A second 2023 dose is recommended for all adults aged ≥75 years if 6 months have passed since their last dose.

It is important to note that older vaccine formulations continue to provide strong protection against serious disease.

See ATAGI statement – 20 November 2023.

New: Monovalent Omicron XBB.1.5 COVID-19 vaccines

From 11 December 2023, the following Moderna and Pfizer Monovalent Omicron XBB.1.5 vaccines will be included in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program:

  • The Pfizer (XBB.1.5) 5-11 years (Light Blue) vaccine is registered for use in people aged 5 years and older.
  • The Pfizer (XBB.1.5) 12 Years + (Grey) vaccine is registered for use in people aged 12 years and older.
  • The Moderna (XBB.1.5) 12 Years + (PFS) vaccine is registered for use in people aged 12 years and older.

Onboarding

All sites currently participating in the Program will be onboarded for the vaccines and will receive an email in CVAS.

ATAGI recommendations on Monovalent Omicron XBB.1.5

There has been no change to current booster eligibility:

  • For primary or additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine, monovalent Omicron XBB.1.5 vaccines are preferred over other vaccines for use in children aged 5 years or older and adults.
  • People who have not had all recommended 2023 booster dose/s should receive these as soon as possible.
  • People who have already received the recommended 2023 booster dose/s are not recommended to receive further doses or re-vaccination with an XBB.1.5 vaccine at this time.
  • ATAGI will provide updated advice in early 2024.

It is important to note that older vaccine formulations continue to provide strong protection against serious disease.

See ATAGI recommendations – 20 November 2023.

Discontinued: Moderna Bivalent BA.4-5

The supply of Moderna Bivalent BA.4-5 12 years+ PFS vaccine is close to expiry (20 December 2023) and soon will no longer be available to order from CVAS.

Last date to order Moderna Bivalent BA.4-5 12 years+ PFS vaccine is Friday 24 November 2023.

Alternative Vaccines

The Pfizer Bivalent BA.4-5 12 years + (grey cap) vaccine 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. New Moderna and Pfizer Monovalent Omicron XBB.1.5 vaccines will be included in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program from 11 December 2023.

ProQuad® brand no longer on NIP

From November 2023, ProQuad® will no longer be available on the NIP childhood schedule. Providers are advised to use Priorix-Tetra® (measles-mumps-rubella-varicella) at the 18-month schedule point.

The following resources have been updated to reflect this change and will be available to order via the Better Health Center:

Education and events

Workshop: Overseas Encounters and Catch Ups REGISTERThis webinar will workshop two scenarios of translating overseas vaccination records and developing catch-up schedules. Catch up planning will include both paper-based method and online calculator method. Date: Thursday 30 November
Time: 8.00pm – 9.00pm
Webinar: RSV disease and prevention REGISTERThis webinar will provide an update on Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) burden of disease and discuss the possible impact of prevention. Date: Tuesday 12 December
Time: 6.00pm – 8.00pm

News highlights

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

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
Cold Chain AuditFrom Oct 2023, CCM audits will commence for general practices and pharmacies administering NIP-funded vaccines.
Cold Chain Breach (CCB)From Aug 2023, SESLHD will only accept online CCB reporting form.
Nurse ScholarshipLimited scholarships available for Authorised Nurse Immuniser course.


Latest immunisation resources

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

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

Latest COVID-19 resources

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

COVID-19 vaccine CCB reporting form Oct 2023This form is to help vaccine providers report a potential cold chain breach under the COVID-19 vaccination program.
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.
COVID-19 handbook chapter Oct 2023Chapter for COVID-19 in the Australian Immunisation Handbook 19 now live.
COVID-19 recommended doses Oct 2023Flowchart outlines ATAGI recommended doses by age and risk factors.
COVID-19 comparison poster Oct 2023Poster outlines key differences between each COVID-19 vaccine available in Australia.