Legionnaires’ disease alert for Sydney CBD. NSW Health

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Immunisation Weekly Update:

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COVID-19 XBB.1.5 vaccine onboarding

The Australian Government has accepted the latest advice from ATAGI on the use of the new COVID-19 XBB 1.5 vaccine as part of the National COVID-19 Vaccine Program.

All sites currently participating in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program will be onboarded for the three new monovalent Omicron XBB.1.5 COVID-19 vaccines.

Maximum Dose Allocation

  • 50 doses – Moderna (XBB.1.5) 12 Years + (PFS) vaccine
  • 600 doses – Pfizer (XBB.1.5) 12 years + (Grey) vaccine
  • 50 doses – Pfizer (XBB.1.5) 5 -11 years (Light Blue) vaccine

Ordering, transferring and wastage

All participating sites can now order XBB.1.5 COVID-19 vaccine via the CVAS COVID-19 Vaccine Administrative System. Sites should only order enough doses to meet demand, up to the maximum allocation.

Sites can share their stock with another site who has signed their relevant declarations for Pfizer or Moderna to minimise wastage. However, if there is an eligible patient who requires a vaccine, do not delay, open a vial, and vaccinate them. There are no penalties for sites should wastage occur.

Administration

Administration of the XBB.1.5 COVID-19 vaccines can commence once you have received your vaccines. Immunisation providers must administer XBB.1.5 COVID-19 vaccines in accordance with ATAGI recommendations.

Two key resources have been updated to include XBB.1.5 COVID-19 vaccines:

ATAGI recommendations

While all COVID-19 vaccines currently available in Australia continue to provide strong protection against serious disease, these new Omicron XBB.1.5 vaccines are now preferred for primary and further doses to better target current circulating COVID-19 variants.

  • Monovalent Omicron XBB.1.5 vaccines are now preferred over other COVID-19 vaccines for use in children aged 5 years or older and adults who are currently recommended primary or additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
  • For those who have already received all 2023 dose/s of COVID-19 vaccine recommended for their age and risk group, further doses or re-vaccination with an XBB.1.5-containing vaccine are not recommended at this time.
  • All people who have not yet had their recommended 2023 dose/s are encouraged to receive them as soon as possible.

Contact the Vaccine Operation Centre (VOC) on 1800 318 208 for any questions.

Feedback: AIR042A COVID-19 Vaccination Report

The AIR042A COVID-19 Vaccination Report provides the COVID-19 vaccination history of individuals who received an MBS service at an immunisation provider’s practice, along with individuals who were previously vaccinated by the provider.

Providers are encouraged to complete a 2 minute survey to provide feedback about the report, as well as the associated eLearning module and simulation, to inform the development of future AIR reports and Services Australia resources.

The survey will close on 29 November 2023.

Excess COVID-19 vaccines?

Practices with an oversupply of COVID-19 vaccine stock on hand are encouraged to contact CESPHN via email at immunisation@cesphn.com.au to help facilitate transfer to practices to who require additional supply.

Include details on vaccine brand, excess quantity and defrost expiry date.

Primary care COVID-19 vaccination sites may choose to transfer vaccines from one participating vaccination site to another for a range of reasons, including to support unmet demand at another site or to manage an oversupply of stock.

Encourage your patients to get vaccinated before travelling these holidays

The end of the year is fast approaching, which means a lot of Australians are travelling overseas. While we have high levels of vaccination coverage, we can still get exposed to serious diseases while visiting other countries.

Before heading overseas these holidays, we are asking Australians to add vaccinations to their travel checklist. This means:

  • checking their vaccination status online through MyGov or the Express Plus Medicare mobile app
  • checking Smartraveller if they need any vaccines for their destination, and
  • booking a vaccination appointment before they leave.

By vaccinating we can protect ourselves, children and the community from serious diseases that are not common in Australia.

The National Immunisation Program also provides free vaccinations for children from birth to age 4. Making sure our children are up-to-date and getting vaccinated according to the schedule means they are protected from viruses and diseases that are present in other countries.

As health professionals, you can encourage your patients ahead of travelling to get vaccinated and recommend vaccines for their overseas destinations. You can use the Smartraveller.gov.au website to guide your advice and help your patients stay safe this holiday period.

For more information visit Immunisation for travel (DOHAC).

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:

Omicron XBB.1.5 COVID-19 vaccinesModerna and Pfizer Monovalent Omicron XBB.1.5 vaccines will be included in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program from 11 Dec 2023.
ProQuad®ProQuad® will no longer be available on the NIP childhood schedule from Nov 2023. Priorix-Tetra® is still NIP funded for MMRV.
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 recommended doses Nov 2023Flowchart outlines ATAGI recommended doses by age and risk factors.
COVID-19 comparison poster Nov 2023Poster outlines key differences between each COVID-19 vaccine available in Australia.
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.