Severe heatwave conditions are forecast in NSW in the coming days. Read more


This post is not the latest immunisation update and therefore may contain information or advice that is out of date. Please see our most recent update here.

Immunisation weekly update – 14 April 2021

14 April 2021

20190319 Immunisation needle icons 31

COVID-19 Vaccine: Support Contacts

For any issues with registering or ordering, please contact the Vaccine Operation Centre (VOC) hotline:

To change any details on the Vaccine Clinic Finder:

  • Contact your Practice Support Officer directly or 
  • Email: 
  • PHNs provided daily updates to the Australian Government Department of Health

All ordering and stock management for general practices should occur through the online portal (CVAS) at 

  • Confirm vaccine deliveries: AZ acceptance form – submit by 9pm on day of delivery
  • Vaccine stock management form – submit weekly by 9pm each Friday

Meningococcal B Vaccination

NCIRS have developed a new guide for healthcare providers to support conversations about meningococcal B vaccination. The document addresses a range of questions including: 

  • Why is MenB vaccine (Bexsero) funded for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children under the age of 2 years?
  • Are other people eligible for the funded MenB vaccine and why?  
  • Which age groups can receive the funded MenB vaccine? 
  • When and how many MenB vaccine (Bexsero) doses are needed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children? 
  • Do children need paracetamol with every dose of Bexsero? 
  • Can Bexsero be given with other vaccines? 

COVID-19 vaccine updates for GPs

Watch the latest COVID-19 vaccine updates for GPs: this webinar will provide the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.  

Get involved by submitting your questions and comments regarding the rollout of COVID-19 vaccine.  

Catch up on previous webinars

AstraZeneca – New recommendations

8 Apr: ATAGI statement on AstraZeneca vaccine in response to new vaccine safety concerns

Key points: 

ATAGI has recommended that:  

  • the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine be preferred over AstraZeneca for adults aged under 50 years. This is because there is a potentially higher risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia in people aged under 50, who receive the AstraZeneca vaccine 
  • the AstraZeneca vaccine be used in adults aged under 50, if the benefits outweigh the risks for that person – and they have made an informed decision based on the risks and benefits 
  • people who have had the first dose of AstraZeneca without any serious adverse effects, can be given the second dose. This includes people aged under 50. 

Download and use the updated patient consent form for COVID-19 vaccination. 

AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine storage


The vaccine does not contain any preservative.

Unopened vial

  • The AZ vaccine can be stored in cold chain conditions of 2°C to 8°C for a maximum of 6 months as per expiry date printed on the vial. DO NOT FREEZE
  • The vials should be stored in their original outer packaging (carton) to protect them from light.

Opened – in vial

After first opening(needle first penetrate the bung), the multidose vial must be used within:

  • 6 hours when stored at room temperature (up to 30°C), or 
  • 2 days (48 hours) when stored in a refrigerator (2°C to 8°C)

The vial can be re-refrigerated, but after first opening the cumulative storage time at room temperature must not exceed 6 hours, and the total cumulative storage time must not exceed 48 hours. After this time, the vial must be discarded.

Opened – drawn up in syringe

The stability of the vaccine after drawing it up into a syringe has not been studies and it therefore should be administered immediately after being drawn up.

The information regarding Drawing up the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine has now been updated to reflect the context for ATAGI’s recommendation in relation to the PI. 
Each dose should be used as soon as practical once withdrawn from the vial into a syringe. 

You may pre-draw multiple doses from one vial into syringes and:

  • Use syringe within one hour if stored at room temperature, or 
  • Use syringe within six hours if stored at 2°C to C

ATAGI recommends thatpre-drawn doses be used within an hourin order to minimise any remote potential risk of infection.

Checks before vaccine administration

  • Check vial expirydate
  • Check time since opening (needle first penetrate the bung)

If the vial has been opened/penetrated and there is no clear indication of the date & time of opening, the vial must be disposed of and VOC notified via the stock management reporting. 

Needles and syringes

Drawing Up

  • Needle: a sterile 19 or 21 gaugeNON- coring bevelled drawing up needle is recommend for drawing up
  • Syringe: a 2ml or 3ml syringe is recommended for doses of 0.5ml or greater 


  • A new syringe and needle must be used for administration to each individual
  • A sterile 22 to 25 gauge 25mm length needle is recommended for IM administration
  • For individuals with obesity a 38mm length needle is recommendedfor IM administration

AstraZeneca – Managing excess doses

Excess doses are vials of COVID-19 vaccine which will expire before the next scheduled patientbooked for COVID-19 vaccine.

The Australian Government Department of Health has published information on managing AstraZeneca excess doses

How to minimise excess doses 

  • Batching bookings within a vaccination session to match the number of doses in a vial. (e.g. book 10 appointments for 10 dose vial) 
  • Plan for cancelled appointments or no-showsin order to minimise vaccine wastage.
  • Use identified excess doses for other patients or staff who fit the eligibility criteria and who are present in the practice.
  • Where these options are not available, practices should use identified excess doses for other patients or staff who fit the 2A or 2B eligibility criteria. 
  • Maintain a reserve list of eligible patients who could come in at short notice
  • If a vial is opened but refrigerated, then the vaccine can still be administered up to 48 hours post opening.


“Make Up” Pfizer doses for RACF residents who missed a second dose 

Primary Health Networks (PHNs) are working to implement local solutions to ensure access to people who missed out on their second Pfizer dose at a residential aged care facility.

If your facility is aware of people who have missed a second Pfizer dose, please forward these details to your local PHN, if you haven’t already. Email

The Department of Health has updated its COVID-19 vaccine doses policy. The updated policy specifies that people should only be vaccinated if they expect to be at the facility to receive both doses. The policy also provides that first doses should not be administered at a second dose clinic.