ATAGI recommends a 2023 COVID-19 vaccine booster dose for adults in the following groups, if their last COVID-19 vaccine dose or confirmed infection (whichever is the most recent) was 6 months ago or longer, and regardless of the number of prior doses received.
A booster dose is recommended for:
All adults aged 65 years and over
Adults aged 18-64 years who have medical comorbidities that increase their risk of severe COVID-19, or disability with significant or complex health needs.
ATAGI advises that people in the following groups should consider a 2023 booster dose based on an individual risk benefit assessment with their immunisation provider:
Adults aged 18-64 years without risk factors for severe COVID-19
Children and adolescents aged 5-17 years who have medical comorbidities that increase their risk of severe COVID-19, or disability with significant or complex health needs.
ATAGI also advises that:
A booster dose is not recommended at this time for children and adolescents aged under the age of 18 who do not have any risk factors for severe COVID-19
All currently available COVID-19 vaccines are anticipated to provide benefit as a booster dose, however bivalent mRNA booster vaccines are preferred over other vaccines
Providers should aim to administer a 2023 COVID-19 booster dose prior to June 2023
The Pfizer bivalent BA.4/5 vaccine is not currently registered for use in children aged <12 years or as a primary series . An approved alternative COVID-19 vaccine, e.g. Pfizer Original COVID-19 vaccine, should be used in children aged 5-11 years who require a booster dose.
Commencement letters have been sent out to eligible general practices: Onboarding of Pfizer Bivalent (BA.4-5) 12 years+ (Grey) vaccine. These practices are commencing in two Tranches: Tranche 1 commencing 6 March 2023, and Tranche 2 commencing 13 March 2023.
In preparation for 2023 seasonal influenza vaccination, practices are advised to order their private stock with consideration to the NSW Immunisation Schedule. This includes the following groups receiving free influenza vaccination under the NIP:
All children 6 months < 5 years
First nations people >6 months
People at risk with conditions > 6months
People aged > 65 years
Flu is recommended for all, however those that do not fall into one of the above categories must purchase flu stock privately.
Enhancements to the AIR for influenza vaccines
On 11 February 2023, enhancements were made to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) in preparation for the 2023 influenza season. It is mandatory for providers to report all Influenza vaccinations to the AIR administered on, or after, 1 March 2021.
NIP and non-NIP influenza vaccines
Providers will now be able to indicate whether an influenza vaccine is NIP funded by selecting either:
(NIP) for NIP funded vaccines
(Non-NIP) for privately purchased vaccines
Additional influenza vaccine names added to the AIR include: Afluria Quad (NIP), Afluria Quad (Non-NIP), Fluarix Tetra (NIP) and Fluarix Tetra (Non-NIP). On a patient’s Immunisation History Statement, only the vaccine brand name will display.
Updates to existing influenza vaccines
AIR has removed the following influenza vaccine brands which are no longer registered or available for use in Australia: Afluria Quad – AFLR, Fluvax – FLUVAX, Vaxigrip – VAXGRP, Fluarix – FLRIX, Fluarix Tetra – FLUTET, FluQuadri Junior – FQDJN, Fluvirin – FLVRN, Panvax – PANVAX, Influvac – INFLUV, Agrippal – AGRPAL, Vaxigrip Junior – VGRJNR, Fluvax Junior – FVXJNR, Fluad – FLUAD, and Fluzone High-Dose – FLUHID.
Vaccines administered prior to 11 February 2023 will still be able to be reported to the AIR.
In instances where the vaccine brand is not available to report to the AIR (eg overseas), providers can report it as ‘Generic Influenza’.
It is mandatory under the Australian Immunisation Register Act 2015, for vaccination providers to report all Influenza vaccinations administered on, or after, 1 March 2021.
Expressions of interest to join ATAGI
The Department of Health and Aged Care is seeking expressions of interest from clinical professionals, researchers, and service delivery and consumer experts to join the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), commencing 1 July 2023.
ATAGI provides evidence-based advice on immunisation policies, programs and priorities. Applications must be received by close of business (Canberra time) on 22 February 2023 to ATAGI.Secretariat@health.gov.au.
Lunch and Learn: Immunisation catch ups – SECOND DATE ADDED
About: Please join us for an interactive lunch and learn presentation on immunisation catch up schedules. How to work them out, skills and insight to know in preparing a catch-up schedule.
When: Tuesday | 28 February 2023 | 12:30 – 1:30 pm (this session has now reached capacity)
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