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Immunisation Weekly Update:

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RSV update for GPs

NSW Health has released information to NSW General Practitioners on Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). RSV activity is high in NSW, placing infants and the elderly at risk of hospitalisation. RSV notifications and bronchiolitis presentations to emergency departments have been high since March; it is unknown how long activity will remain high.

Beyfortus for infants

Beyfortus (nirsevimab) is a monoclonal antibody for infants which provides immediate passive immunisation for around 5 months and is 80% effective in preventing RSV- associated hospitalisation.

  • In NSW, Beyfortus is only available through hospitals and Aboriginal Medical Services (AMS) for eligible infants
  • Patients who are eligible and did not receive a dose in hospital should contact their local paediatric service or AMS

Eligibility criteria: infants born after 31 October 2023 who are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander; born at <37 weeks gestation; or have significant cardiac, respiratory, immunological or other complex conditions (as determined by a paediatrician).

Arexvy for adults

Arexvy (GSK) is an adjuvanted recombinant vaccine for adults that provides high levels of protection against severe RSV infection administered as a single dose.

  • Arexvy vaccine is registered with the TGA for adults aged 60 years and over
  • It is only available via private script and is not funded by the NIP or PBS

ATAGI recommendations: adults aged 75 years and over; Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander adults over 60 years; and adults with medical risk factors for severe RSV disease aged 60-74 years.

See also NCIRS Respiratory syncytial virus FAQs webpage.

Following vaccination resource – available to order

Providers can now order the Following vaccination – what to expect and what to do tear off pad for patients, updated 13 May 2024, which provides easy-to-read information on common reactions that may occur after vaccinations.

Order this resource by contacting National Mailing and Marketing, quote the order ID number, quantity and delivery address:

  • Order ID: IT0303
  • Email: health@nationalmailing.com.au
  • Phone: 02 6269 1080

Following Vaccination What To Expect And What To Do

Flu season in NSW

On 17 May 2024, NSW Health issued a media release strongly urging the community to stay up to date with their vaccinations to protect themselves and others, as the flu season begins, and notifications of respiratory viruses rise across the state.

The latest NSW Health Respiratory Surveillance Report shows influenza and COVID transmission in the community is increasing, while respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) remains at high levels. NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said the latest data shows more than 2,000 people were diagnosed with influenza across NSW in the week ending 11 May 2024.

The Immunisation Weekly Update will be including the latest NSW influenza vaccination coverage by age group each week. Practices are encouraged to recommend flu vaccination to all NIP eligible patients.

Age groupNSW coverage (as at 19 May 2024)
6 months to under 5 years11.9% (from 9.7% last week)
65 years and over44.1% (from 39.1% last week)

Influenza campaign: Resources now available

Department of Health: 2024 influenza vaccination campaign

The Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care has launched its 2024 influenza vaccination campaign.

The new resource collection contains range of influenza vaccination resources for health professionals and the public, including brochures, posters, factsheets and videos that give clear advice on influenza vaccination and targeted strategies for the 2024 season.

NSW Health: 2024 respiratory illness campaign

NSW Health has launched their 2024 Respiratory Campaign Toolkit for influenza (flu), COVID-19 and RSV. The aim of this campaign is to promote flu vaccination, emphasise the benefits and ease of getting vaccinated, while also raising awareness of other respiratory illnesses.

Immunisation providers can order materials from the NSW Health Respiratory Illness campaign to be delivered to their clinic

AIR042A report expanded to include flu

The AIR042A report has been expanded and now includes both influenza and COVID-19 vaccination history for individuals who received a vaccination or MBS service at a practice.

Further information about AIR reports is available on the Services Australia website and an AIR042A eLearning module and simulation are available on the education gateway.

New vaccines added to the AIR

Additional non-standard vaccines and immunisation products can now be recorded on AIR:

  • Abrysvo (respiratory syncytial virus [RSV])
  • Arexvy (RSV)
  • Beyfortus (nirsevimab – monoclonal antibody for the prevention of RSV)
  • Generic RSV
  • Degvaxia (dengue fever)
  • Generic Dengue
  • Q-Vax (Q fever)
  • Vaxchora (cholera)
  • Vaxneuvance (15-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine; available to report to AIR from 22 May 2024).

Providers should update to the latest version of clinical software to access the full range of vaccines available for reporting. The list of all vaccines that can be recorded on the AIR is available on the Services Australia website.

MedicalDirector: Reminder to update to version 4.3

In February 2024, Medical Director released version 4.3 which includes the new AIR reporting fields and a range of other features including MyMedicare patient administration.

Since its launch, only a third of practices using Clinical and Pracsoft have upgraded to 4.3 and are benefiting from secure email, new AIR reporting fields, automated MBS fee updates, bulk online patient claiming and verification, and a redesigned Smartbar for accessing Smart Connected Care solutions and workflows.

New AIR eLearning modules

New education resources relating to the AIR are now available through the Services Australia education gateway. They include the following:

Visit the education gateway to view the range of education resources for health professionals, including resources about the AIR, Health Professional Online Services (HPOS) and Provider Digital Access (PRODA).

Q fever vaccine records

Vaccination providers will no longer be able to report Q fever vaccine information to the Q Fever Register as Q fever (Q-Vax) vaccines and natural immunity information can now be reported to the AIR.

Previous historical data stored within the Q Fever Register will not be automatically transferred to the AIR. Immunisation providers can record Q fever vaccines to AIR from a Q Fever eStatement. Individuals can access their Q Fever eStatement by downloading a copy from the Q Fever Register website or contacting the Q Fever Register on 1300 733 837.

Updated immunisation resources

The following immunisation resources have been updated recently.

NIP childhood schedule – fridge magnet cardUpdated: 16 May 2024

This fridge magnet card outlines the series of recommended vaccines available free for children aged 0 to 4 years under the National Immunisation Program.
Childhood vaccinations – A4 consumer brochureUpdated: 16 May 2024

This brochure provides information about the recommended vaccines available free for children under the National Immunisation Program.
Childhood vaccinations – FAQUpdated: 16 May 2024

This information sheet answers the most frequently asked questions about childhood vaccinations.
Recommended COVID-19 vaccine dosesUpdated: 17 May 2024 (discontinue use of previous version)

This poster outlines the COVID-19 vaccine doses recommended for each age and population group.
COVID-19 vaccines in Australia – A3 posterUpdated: 2 May 2024 (discontinue use of previous version)

This poster provides key differences between each COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in the National COVID-19 Vaccine Program.

Education & Networking

Register for upcoming immunisation education webinars below. View past webinar recordings on our Immunisation | Education webpage.

REGISTER

3 June 2024 1:00pm – 2:00pm
QI in practice – Increasing influenza vaccination uptake using clinical audit tools

Join us for this lunch and learn session on how to use clinical audit tools CAT4 and Polar to identify patients eligible for a free flu vaccine under the NIP.

We will demonstrate how to utilise reports to monitor flu vaccine uptake at the practice and plan your seasonal flu vaccine campaign as a quality improvement activity to meet your PIPQI requirements.
REGISTER (Eastlakes)

4 June 2024 6:30pm – 9:00pm

REGISTER (Sans Souci)

27 June 2024 6:30pm – 9:00pm
Practice 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. The same event will be repeated at two locations, please only register for one:

Eastlakes: The Lakes Golf Club
Sans Souci: St George Motor Boat Club
REGISTER (online)

REGISTER (in person) 

14 June 2024  8:30am – 4:30pm 
Free event: Immunisation Coalition | 2024 Annual Immunisation Forum

The Annual Immunisation Forum is a one-day event that gives healthcare professionals a greater understanding of immunisation and vaccine preventable diseases. Attend online or in person at Stamford Plaza Hotel in Brisbane.

This event is ideal for GPs, practice nurses, specialists, pharmacists and other immunisation specialists.