Immunisation Weekly Update:

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Updates to the Australian Immunisation Handbook

The following updates have recently been made to the Handbook:

NSW Health advice – Influenza resources and campaign

NSW Health has developed new influenza resources for health professionals including GPs, Pharmacists, Aboriginal Medical Services and other healthcare facilities. These resources aim to help health professionals communicate influenza and vaccination information with their patients.

A winter respiratory advertising campaign developed by NSW Health is now live and will run until August 2023 across metropolitan and regional NSW.

The campaign educates the community on respiratory illnesses such as influenza, RSV and COVID-19 including vaccination and hygiene reminders.

Winter respiratory information for the community including in-language resources are available on the NSW Health website. This includes information on free influenza vaccination for higher risk groups of people. 

Scholarship opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Applications are now open for scholarships to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to attend the Communicable Diseases & Immunisation Conference (CDIC), to be held in Perth, Western Australia from Monday 19 to Wednesday 21 June 2023.

Further details including the application process is available on the CDIC conference website. Applications close 28 May 2023.

COVID-19 vaccination in-reach

COVID-19 vaccines continue to be principally administered by primary care providers such as general practitioners and pharmacists in residential aged care and disability homes.

The Department of Health and Aged Care encourage COVID-19 vaccine providers to continue providing in-reach COVID-19 vaccinations to aged care and disability residents.

To support providers offering this service, the MBS flag-fall item 90005 has been increased to $118.15. The flag-fall item can be co-claimed with other COVID-19 MBS items.

There is no minimum number of patients that must be vaccinated for the flag-fall item to be claimed. One patient or multiple may be seen but only one flag-fall item per visit may be claimed.

If there are residential aged care patients requiring vaccination, we encourage sites to go and vaccinate them, even if there is only a few or one patient needing vaccination.

You can provide in-reach services even if there is an outbreak of COVID-19 or influenza at a home, you will just need to ensure you only vaccinate patients who are well. This provides a higher level of protection for patients who have not yet been infected.

A reminder that COVID-19 and influenza vaccines can be co-administered (administered on the same day), but COVID-19 vaccinations must be provided free of charge.

Providers may wish to consider the risk/benefit to residents of providing both vaccines on the same day, particularly in a residential aged care facility, as it may be difficult for residents to have another opportunity for vaccination.

Thank you for your assistance providing in-reach vaccination clinics for our most vulnerable. Please continue to support Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs) in your area and reach out to if you can assist to vaccinate this cohort of people most at risk from COVID-19.

Moderna Bivalent BA.1 discontinued

The Commonwealths supply of the Moderna Bivalent BA.1 vaccine is nearing depletion and expiry. Soon, you will not be able to order or administer this vaccine product. The last order window opens this Saturday 13 May 2023 and closes at 11.59pm on Friday 19 May 2023, for a Requested delivery date of Friday 2 June 2023.

The Moderna Bivalent BA.1 vaccine is no longer being manufactured and has been superseded by the Moderna Bivalent BA.4-5 pre-filled syringe vaccine which officially became available for administrations on 3 April 2023. 

Pfizer Bivalent BA.1 (grey cap) and Pfizer Bivalent BA.4-5 (grey cap) vaccines will also continue to be available as a COVID-19 booster dose for people who are eligible.