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IMPORTANT NOTICE

This post is not the latest immunisation update and therefore may contain information or advice that is out of date.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 – 21 December 2021

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COVID-19 status report (AIR042A) funding program: Expression of Interest 

Central and Eastern Sydney PHN (CESPHN) is inviting general practices to apply for funding of up to $1,200 to participate in a program to improve COVID-19 vaccination uptake among our region’s unvaccinated population. Around 13% of CESPHN’s population remain unvaccinated, as at 20 December 2021.

The program will involve identifying and following up patients of the practice who have not yet received two primary doses of COVID-19 vaccine, using the COVID-19 Status Report (AIR042A) available on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). The program activities must be completed within 6 weeks.

Applications close Friday, 24 December 2021.

Click here for more information and to register your interest to participate.

State Vaccine Centre Christmas closure

The NSW Vaccine Centre will be accepting vaccine orders until midday today, Tuesday 21 December 2021. Deliveries will take place on Wednesday 22 December 2021. Orders placed after this time will be held for dispatch from Tuesday 4 January 2022.

CESPHN Immunisation Team Christmas closure

The CESPHN offices will be closed from Friday 24 December 2021 and will reopen on Tuesday 4 January 2022. See below contacts for immunisation or vaccine support during this time:

  • Contact the Public Health Unit (PHU) on 1300 066 055 for cold chain breaches and NIP vaccines
  • Contact the Vaccine Operation Centre (VOC) on 1800 318 208 for any enquires regarding COVID-19 vaccines
  • Contact the NSW Immunisation Specialist Service (NSWISS) on 1800 679 477 for clinical advice
  • Contact the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) on 1800 653 809

MMRV vaccine shortage

The Commonwealth has advised states/territories of a major international supply issue affecting the combination measles, mumps rubella varicella (MMRV) vaccines for children at 18 months of age. It is likely to continue throughout the whole of 2022. The NSW Vaccine Centre has:

  • placed tight restrictions on the quantities of MMRV vaccines that providers can order
  • advised that catch up vaccination of older children should be done with separate MMR and varicella vaccines

The use of the separate vaccines for children aged 18 months should not be needed but may be required down the track if the supply issues are not resolved.

New Pfizer Paediatric COVID-19 vaccine training module!

Additional new module regarding the Pfizer (COMIRNATY) (For Age 5 to <12 Years) COVID-19 vaccine is now available in the COVID-19 vaccination training program on Monday 20 December.

It is crucial to note the orange cap Pfizer for age 5 to <12 years vaccine is a different formulation and has a different recommended use, storage, handling and preparation processes to the purple capped Pfizer vaccine for those 12 and over.

The purple capped Pfizer (COMINARTY) vaccine should NOT be administered to patients under the age of 12.

Booster update 

ATAGI has recommended a shortened interval of less than 5 months for certain individuals. To ensure timely provision of boosters, ATAGI recommends that those who become eligible for a COVID-19 booster dose before or during the December and New Year holiday period (i.e. up to 3 January 2022) can receive them earlier than 5 months.

A COVID-19 booster vaccination is now recommended for anyone aged 18 and older who completed their primary course 5 or more months ago. It has also been announced that Spikevax (Moderna) can be used as a booster vaccine. 

New MBS item numbers for in-home COVID-19 vaccinations

Starting 1 January, two new MBS items (93600 and 93661) will be introduced that will allow nurses to conduct a COVID-19 Vaccine Suitability Assessment in a patient’s home (which may include, a residential aged care facility or disability care home). The new item numbers are designed to improve access to vaccines and booster shots for those unable to attend a vaccination site.

Pregnancy, breastfeeding and COVID-19 vaccines

Real-world evidence has shown that Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are safe if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning pregnancy. Learn more on the Department of Health website

COVID-19 vaccine ordering

There are different ordering and delivery arrangements over the holiday period. The following table provides the key ordering and delivery dates for Pfizer (12 and over)AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccine:

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Paediatric Ordering

The ordering and delivery cycle for the Pfizer (5 to 11 years) vaccine differs from the normal and holiday ordering cadence to allow time for batch testing of the first vaccines and to align with the available supply. The following table provides the key ordering and delivery dates for the Pfizer 5 to 11 years (Orange):

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Protect your vaccines over Summer 

As we approach summer and temperatures rise, power outages become more common due to significant strain on the electricity system. It is important that all staff in your practice are aware of your cold chain back-up plan for power outages and are familiar with protocols for cold chain breaches. Also ensure all staff hold a certificate in HETI Vaccine Storage and Cold Chain Management – online training module. 

Ensure that staff at the practice are familiar with the process for Managing a Power Failure – ‘Strive for 5’, and that the practice has all the required equipment on site to respond to a power failure.

Recording vaccines on AIR site with no batch number

Vaccination providers are also required to report the country of administration for any overseas administered COVID-19 vaccinations to the AIR. If the vaccine was administered overseas and the batch number is not available, vaccination providers should enter ‘notrecorded’, (one word, no spaces) in the AIR. Individuals who present with a vaccination record without a batch number should be encouraged to request the batch number information from the provider that administered the vaccine.

Individuals will not be able to generate an International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate where this information has not been reported to the AIR. If providers are unable to record the country of administration using clinical software, this information can be entered directly into the AIR site.

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AIR update

From January 2022, you will no longer be able to post or fax form to the AIR. Completed forms can be submitted to AIR via the . The following forms can be uploaded to HPOS: AIR – immunisation medical exemption form (IM011), AIR – immunisation history form (IM013), AIR – immunisation encounter form (IM018).

The quickest and easiest way to record immunisation information on the AIR is by using Practice Management Software. Alternatively, to go online to the AIR site via PRODA to record immunisation encounters, medical exemptions and immunisations given overseas directly on to the AIR site. This method updates the individual’s record immediately.

Survey – NCIRS

NCIRS Social Science in Immunisation team is undertaking a study funded by the NSW Department of Health to examine the needs of immunisation providers (general practitioners, nurses and pharmacists) in relation to having supportive conversations about COVID-19 vaccination with patients. If you are interested in participating in the study, click here.

Vaccine Administration Partners Program (VAPP)

The Australian Government are rolling out a program to assist businesses in providing COVID-19 vaccines to employees at work. Find out how to access an immunisation provider for your business or organisation at the VAPP webpage.

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