Legionnaires’ disease alert for Sydney CBD. NSW Health

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Immunisation Weekly Update:

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Are your vaccines ready for summer?

In the summer season, storms are more likely to occur, which can lead to power outages. Refer to the Cold Chain Toolkit to ensure all vaccination storage requirements are in place should an outage occur.

Disposal of Zostavax®

Zostavax® vaccine will no longer be provided on the NIP from 1 November 2023. Immunisation providers may continue to administer Zostavax® for people aged 70 years old who prefer to receive this vaccine until they expire in 2024.

If there is no patient demand, providers may discard Zostavax® vaccines prior to expiry date. Report discarded quantity in the NSW Vaccine Centre portal > Report Expired Vaccines, and input expiry date as 1 November 2023.

New mandatory AIR reporting fields

Two new reporting fields have been added to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR), and from 1 March 2024 these reporting fields will become mandatory.

Vaccine type

Under the ‘vaccine type’ field, providers will be able to choose from 4 vaccine types: Antenatal, NIP/Commonwealth, Private, or State Program. Only one option can be selected under the ‘vaccine type’ field.

The Antenatal option should be selected when the person presenting is pregnant at the time the vaccine is administered, regardless of whether the vaccine is funded privately, under the NIP or a state and territory program. COVID-19 vaccines should be reported as NIP/Commonwealth.

Route of administration

The ‘route of administration’ field will only be mandatory for Japanese encephalitis vaccines. Under the ‘route of administration’ field, providers will be able to choose from: Oral, Subcutaneous, Intradermal, or Intramuscular.

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New AIR043A report

The new AIR043A Vaccine Details report is available for vaccination providers through the AIR site.

This report can be used by vaccination providers to extract and reconcile vaccination information that they have previously reported to the AIR. The report contains information about the individual that they have vaccinated and the vaccine details (such as the vaccine brand, vaccine type and route of administration).

Further information about the AIR043A report is available on the Services Australia website.

NIP vaccinations in pharmacy (NIPVIP)

The National Immunisation Program Vaccinations in Pharmacy (NIPVIP) Program will commence 1 January 2024.

This program allows eligible patients to access free National Immunisation Program (NIP) vaccines in a community pharmacy, with no out-of-pocket costs. More information available here.

COVID-19 Digital Certificate decommissioned

The COVID-19 Digital Certificate has been decommissioned and the COVID-19 and Influenza Immunisation History Statement (IHS) can now be used for the purpose of proof of vaccination.

This statement can be saved to digital wallets (Apple/Google) to enable easy access. Further information about the IHS and proof of vaccination is available on the Services Australia website.

New COVID-19 vaccines target current variants

The Australian Government has approved the use of new COVID-19 XBB 1.5 vaccine as part of the National COVID-19 Vaccine Program.           

The new XBB 1.5 vaccines have been found to provide modest improved protection against the COVID-19 strains circulating in the community. The XBB 1.5 vaccines will be available along with the existing bivalent vaccines.

There is no change to current vaccine eligibility recommendations.

The new vaccine is a good reminder for people to get vaccinated if they haven’t had their recommended dose(s) in 2023.

Handbook COVID-19 chapter was updated to reflect the current preference for the use of Omicron XBB.1.5 vaccines in primary courses and as further doses to better target current circulating COVID-19 variants.

The Cold Chain Breach (CCB) reporting form and Vaccine Administration Error (VAE) reporting form have been updated to include the new XBB 1.5 vaccines.

Read the latest advice ATAGI recommendations.

COVID-19 vaccine ordering requirements over Christmas

Vaccine Operations Centre (VOC) holiday arrangements

The VOC operating hours will change over the Christmas and New Year period. The VOC will close at 3pm on 22 December 2023 and reopen on 2 January 2024.

COVID-19 vaccine stock reporting over the holidays

Participating sites will need to continue submitting weekly Stock Management Reports, unless closed over Christmas and New Year.

If closed over the holidays, you must submit one Stock Management Report when you re-open before placing your next COVID-19 vaccine order.

If you have any questions, please call the VOC on 1800 318 208 or email covid19vaccineoperationscentre@health.gov.au

Education and events

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:

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.
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

Latest immunisation resources

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

Latest COVID-19 resources

COVID-19 vaccination advice is updated regularly, links to the most up-to-date information are listed below:

COVID-19 Vaccine Administration Error reporting form Dec 2023This form is to help vaccine providers report a vaccine administration error under the COVID-19 Vaccination Program.
COVID-19 vaccine 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 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.
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.