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Immunisation Weekly Update:

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CESPHN 2024 Immunisation update event

Join us online for CESPHN’s annual immunisation update covering the latest clinical information on RSV, influenza, COVID-19, emerging diseases, and more.

  • Date: Thursday 14 March 2024
  • Time: 7.00pm to 8.30pm
  • Register: click here
  • Presented by: NCIRS Staff Specialist
  • Target audience: GPs, Practice Nurses, Pharmacists, Practice Managers and Practice Staff

New RSV vaccine for adults over 60 years

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved RSV vaccine Arexvy for use against respiratory syncytial virus in adults aged 60 years and over. The vaccine will be available by prescription.

RSV is a contagious respiratory virus which causes an illness similar to influenza, most notably in babies and older adults.

ANI annual CPR requirement

Authorised Nurse Immunisers (ANIs) are required to obtain a statement of proficiency in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) annually, as per the NSW Health Authority.

CESPHN host a range of education events, including CPR. See March CPR workshop and April CPR workshop. The cost of the workshop is $80.00. This event will be repeated monthly across the region. Please see the CESPHN Events Calendar for other workshop dates.

Measles alert

There have been two recent cases of measles arriving in NSW from overseas:

  • A seven-month-old infant who had recently returned from the Middle East – 17 January 2024
  • A nine-month-old infant who had recently returned from Asia – 16 January 2024

Measles advice for infant travellers

Providers are reminded that infants may receive MMR vaccine from as young as 6 months of age after an individual risk assessment, if they are travelling to countries where measles is endemic, or where measles outbreaks are occurring.

These infants will still need to receive the two NIP scheduled doses of MMR vaccine at 12 months and 18 months of age.

Measles advice for adult travellers

All adult travellers need to ensure they have had two doses of measles vaccine. People who are unsure if they have had two doses should get a measles vaccine as additional doses are safe. This is particularly important prior to travel. The measles vaccine is free in NSW for anyone born during or after 1966 who hasn’t already had two doses. 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. An information sheet is available for NSW General Practitioners which outlines measles presentation, suspected case management and measles vaccination.

COVID-19 vaccination advice for 2024

Updated COVID-19 vaccine recommendations will be provided in early 2024 from the Department of Health and Aged Care. Current advice should be followed until this time:

  1. Patients who have not yet received all recommended COVID-19 vaccinations in 2023 should get vaccinated and not wait until the updated 2024 advice is provided.
  2. Patients who have received all recommended doses should wait until updated recommendations are advised in early 2024.

The Australian Immunisation Handbook includes a COVID-19 Chapter that provides information about COVID-19, vaccines, and recommendations for vaccination. Providers can find guidance on patient eligibility, suitability, dosage and administration for all available COVID-19 vaccines.

COVID-19 vaccine – Supply update

Novavax

Novavax can no longer be ordered from CVAS and all Novavax vaccines will expire on Wednesday 31 January 2024.

Sites who require Novavax vaccine can contact CESPHN at immunisation@cesphn.com.au to assist in facilitating a vaccine transfer from another site.

Moderna Bivalent BA.4-5 12 years + PFS

The Commonwealth supply of the Moderna Bivalent BA.4-5 12 years + PFS vaccine expired on 20 December 2023.

Sites are reminded to discard any remaining stock to avoid potential Vaccine Administration Errors. Discarded vaccines must be reported as wastage in CVAS.

Alternative Vaccines

There are a range of mRNA vaccines that continue to be available for people aged 12 years and over. These include:

  • Moderna (XBB.1.5) 12 Years + (PFS) vaccine
  • Pfizer (XBB.1.5) 12 years + (Grey) vaccine
  • Pfizer Bivalent (BA.4/5) 12 Years + (Grey) vaccine

Excess COVID-19 vaccines?

Practices with an oversupply of COVID-19 vaccine stock on hand are encouraged to notify CESPHN via the Excess COVID-19 vaccine to help reduce wastage and help facilitate transfer to another site.

Decommissioned: Coronavirus Helpline and Easy Vaccine Access

The National Coronavirus Helpline (NCH) and Easy Vaccine Access (EVA) services have been decommissioned. Providers are reminded to update any website or materials to remove references to NCH and EVA. Alternative services include:

  • Healthdirect website provides general COVID-19 health advice, including symptoms, testing, vaccines, long COVID, and what to do if you have COVID-19.
  • Service Finder helps patients find a COVID-19 vaccine provider and book an appointment.
  • Symptom Checker helps people with COVID-19 symptoms decide what to do next.

If someone feels very unwell or needs COVID-19 advice for a person in their care, they should talk with a health professional right away or speak with a nurse by calling the HealthDirect helpline on 1800 022 222. The helpline is available 24/7 and has free interpreting help.

Catch up on immunisation news!

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

COVID-19 infections surgeHigh level of COVID-19 transmission in NSW with greater Sydney approaching levels not seen since late 2022. Omicron variants EG.5 and JN.1 appear to be driving most transmission, with JN.1 increasing in prevalence.
Measles case in NSWNSW Health is advising people to ensure they are up to date with 2 doses of measles infection after being notified of one confirmed case of measles acquired from overseas travel.
Flu vaccine 2024The 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 2024The 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.
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.


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 provider resources collection Jan 2024Clinical guidance and other COVID-19 vaccine resources provided by ATAGI for immunisaion providers.
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.