Immunisation Weekly Update:

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Register for upcoming immunisation education webinars, including CESPHN’s annual immunisation update. View past webinar recordings on our Immunisation | Education webpage.

REGISTER 9 April 2024
1:00pm – 2:00pm 
Introduction to the National Immunisation Program (NIP) – Lunch and learn series An introduction to the National Immunisation Program (NIP). Learn about the vaccines available under the Government funded NIP and their eligibility. We will also discuss basic cold chain requirements.
REGISTER 30 April 2024
6:00pm – 9:00pm
Free event: Respiratory Infections and the Role of Vaccines An evening of networking, drinks, canapes, and expert talks on respiratory diseases and vaccines. Topics include update on viral epidemiology, management of acute respiratory infections in children, prevention of respiratory syncytial virus in children, and more.

On 26 March 2024, ATAGI released a statement on the use of nirsevimab for prevention of severe respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in infants. It provides clinical advice on the use of the injectable, long-acting monoclonal antibody (mAb) nirsevimab.

ATAGI’s issuing of formal guidance follows the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s November 2023 approval of nirsevimab for use in infants and vulnerable children up to 24 months of age. Nirsevimab bolsters the range of immunisation products approved for use in Australia for the prevention of RSV, which currently also includes the recently approved Arexvy vaccine for those aged 60 years and over.

More detailed advice on the dosing, timing, co-administration, safety, efficacy, effectiveness and anticipated availability of nirsevimab is available in the full ATAGI statement.

The Public Health Unit would like to remind all GPs that NSW Health provides free rabies vaccine and immunoglobulin for people with bites or scratches from bats in Australia, or any animals from rabies-endemic countries.

GPs are reminded to contact the PHU immediately by calling 1300 066 055 for support in assessing the risk, and for supply of free vaccine and immunoglobulin, if required. Rabies post-exposure prophylaxis is time-sensitive, with treatment tailored to the individual affected, the nature and site of the wound, time elapsed, and any treatment provided overseas.

Full patient management details are available on HealthPathways (SES HealthPathways or Sydney HealthPathways) and in the Australian Immunisation Handbook.

See also:

Whooping Cough Alert

On 27 March 2024, NSW Health issued an alert to GPs regarding the increase in whooping cough infections. Key messages include:

  • Whooping cough continues to increase in NSW, particularly amongst school-aged children.
  • Prompt diagnosis, isolation and antibiotics can reduce transmission and protect infants.
  • Ensure infants are vaccinated on time, and all pregnant women are vaccinated between 2032 weeks.

See NSW Health full alert: ​​​Pertussis (Whooping Cough) – Information for GPs​

The Australian Immunisation Handbook was updated with new and updated information. A summary of the change can be found below:

Influenza Handbook Chapter Updated 13 March 2024Table. Specified medical conditions Addition of a new table replacing the list of specified medical conditions associated with increased risk of influenza disease and severe outcomes.

Co-administration with other vaccines Updates to recommendations for co-administration with examples including the new RSV vaccines.
COVID-19 Handbook Chapter Updated 15 March 2024COVID-19 recommendations New recommendations for further (booster) doses of COVID-19 vaccine by age and risk group.

COVID-19 recommendations New recommendations for primary dose/s of COVID-19 vaccine by age and risk group.