Immunisation Weekly Update:

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The latest NSW respiratory surveillance summary shows:

  • COVID-19 activity remains stable at high levels.
  • Influenza activity continues to increase and is now at a high level, with the number of presentations to emergency departments increasing. Test positivity for influenza, which is a key indicator of activity, has increased to 15.6%.
  • RSV activity, though still high is slowly declining. Pertussis and pneumonia continue to be unseasonably high in school aged children.

Immunisation providers are encouraged to engage in opportunistic vaccination for COVID-19 and influenza, or at least promotion of the vaccine if immunisation is not feasible during the clinical encounter, as recommendation from a healthcare professional is the most effective method to promote acceptance.

ATAGI 2024 COVID-19 vaccination recommendations are:

  • a dose of COVID-19 vaccine for adults aged ≥75 years every 6 months.
  • the following groups receive a dose of COVID-19 vaccine every 12 months, and can consider a dose every 6 months, based on a risk-benefit assessment:
    •  Adults aged 65—74 years
    • Adults aged 18—64 years with severe immunocompromise
  • the following groups can consider a COVID-19 vaccine every 12 months, based on a risk-benefit assessment:
    • All other adults aged 18—64 years
    • Children and adolescents aged 5—<18 years with severe immunocompromise

Further information in the Australian Immunisation Handbook COVID-19 chapter.

Age groupAll people NSW coverageAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people NSW coverage
6 months to under 5 years19.5%12.9%
65 years and over55.5%58.2%

AIR data as at 23 June 2024: NCIRS Influenza vaccination coverage data.

As at 23 June 2024, NSW flu vaccine coverage in NSW remains suboptimal. Immunisation providers are reminded to encourage vaccination at every opportunity, especially for those medically at risk and eligible for free vaccination under the NIP:

  • all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
  • all children aged 6 months to less than 5 years of age
  • all individuals aged 5 years and over with medical risk conditions
  • pregnant women (influenza vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy)
  • people aged 65 years and over (a vaccine that is specifically designed to produce a higher immune response is available for this group).

To help promote the uptake of flu vaccine, clinics can order free Respiratory Illness materials.

The Public Health Unit (PHU) in South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD) is working with the residential aged care facilities (RACF) in SESLHD to improve the resident vaccination rates for 4 age-recommended vaccines, specifically COVID-19, influenza, pneumococcal and shingles.

The PHU would appreciate your opinions on the barriers and enablers for vaccinating RACF residents.

Can you please complete this survey by Friday 5 July 2024.

Participation in the survey is voluntary, and your responses are anonymous and confidential.

 If you have any questions or comments about the survey, please email Dr Karen Chee at the PHU.

Three new mpox cases have been confirmed this week in NSW, all of which are related to current mpox outbreaks interstate, bringing the total number of mpox cases identified in NSW since May 2022 to 72.

NSW Health is asking gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men to be on the lookout for symptoms of mpox following the recent detection of new cases.

Mpox vaccine is recommended and free for all sexually active gay and bisexual men (cis and trans), sexual partners of these people and sex workers. It is important to note two doses of vaccine are required, at least 28 days apart.  The mpox vaccine is free, and you do not need a Medicare card to receive it.

To find clinics offering the vaccination visit the NSW Health website.

Last chance to register for nurse networking event tomorrow night

Register for upcoming immunisation education webinars below.

View past webinar recordings on our Immunisation | Education webpage.

REGISTER 26 June 2024 6.00pm – 7.00pm2024 RSV webinar The Immunisation Coalition’s update on RSV will provide an overview of RSV epidemiology, disease burden and an update to new RSV vaccines and monoclonal antibody, TGA Registrations and their availability. Consideration is given to the introduction of these preventatives including ATAGI recommendations, surveillance, education and advocacy.
REGISTER (Sans Souci) 27 June 2024 6.30pm – 9.00pm St George Motor Boat ClubPractice nurse networking evening Practice nurses are invited to join us for our Nurse networking evening. A face-to-face event where you can establish connections with other nurses, build relationships, share experiences, and elevate your nursing knowledge. Hear from guest speakers covering topics related to Immunisation and Childhood Development while also enjoying drinks and canapes.