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This post is not the latest immunisation update and therefore may contain information or advice that is out of date.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 – 23 February 2022

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CESPHN’s annual Immunisation update 2022!

REGISTER NOW: Immunisation update 2022 (Free for all CESPHN health care workers)

Learning Outcomes:

  • Discuss influenza trends and vaccination expectations for 2022
  • Discuss the changes and current status of the COVID-19 vaccination program 
  • Summarise the techniques and resources available to address vaccine hesitancy with patients
  • Determine methods for identifying patients overdue for COVID-19 and NIP vaccinations at the practice level

Presented by Associate Professor Nick Wood, MBBS, MPH, FRACP, PhD, Associate Director, Clinical Research and Services, NCIRS, Senior Staff Specialist.

FREE webinar, target audience: GPs, practice nurses, practice staff and pharmacists.
Register: Immunisation update 2022

Moderna for people 6+ years 

ATAGI has considered the TGA’s  advice and released a statement recommending that Moderna COVID-19 vaccine can be used as a primary course of COVID-19 vaccination in people aged 6 years and older.

  • The Moderna dose for children aged 6-11 years old is 0.25mL (50 micrograms)
    • this is half that of the dose used for the primary course for people 12 years and older;
    • but the same as the booster dose for adults.
  • At this stage, ATAGI does not recommend the use of mixed primary schedules in the 6-11 age group.
  • Moderna is not currently recommended for anyone under the age of 6 years.
  • A new consent form (Moderna information and consent form for children aged 6 to 11 years) has been published for administering the Moderna vaccine to children aged 6-11 years.

This means all primary care sites can commence administering Moderna to individuals aged 6 from 24 February 2022. General practices who are not yet administering Moderna vaccine, can email to indicate your interest.

Compulsory Moderna Training Module

A new specific Moderna training module for children aged 6 years and older is currently in development and will be available in the coming weeks. Clinicians will be required to complete the updated training module prior to administering the Moderna vaccine to children aged 6 – 11. 

Shelf-life extension for Pfizer 12+ 

The TGA has approved a shelf-life extension of Pfizer 12 years+ (Purple) when stored between -90°C to -60°C. This applies only to the following batch numbers:  FL3560, FH3221, FL7649, FL5729, FK6268, FL5333, FK0892, 210957.

Packaging associated with the above batches have not been amended to reflect the extended expiry dates. The new expiry date of each batch will be reflected in CVAS when completing delivery acceptance.

Scenario: Pfizer 12+ vials | Batch number FK0892 | Manufacture Expiry Date 28/02/2022 (on vial) | Defrost date 01/03/2022 at 8.00am. Vaccine were delivered to your practice on 1 March 2022 at 3pm. Which of the following is correct?

  1. Vaccines are expired – discard immediately. All vaccines expired on 28 Feb 2022
  2. Vaccines are ok to use – checked Vaccine Shelf Life Extension document, new manufacture expiry date for vaccines with Batch number FK0892 is 31 May 2022. Vaccines to be discarded on 1 April 2022

Correct answer is b.

Zostavax fatalities warning – Careful screening essential

Warning from TGADO NOT administer Zostavax if the immune status of the patient is unclear.

The TGA continues to receive reports of the use of Zostavax vaccine in immunocompromised patients. Fatalities have followed administration of Zostavax to immunocompromised patients – due to disseminated disease with vaccine (Oka) strain VZV.

Providers are reminded that careful assessment and screening for immunocompromise is essential for all patients for whom Zostavax is considered prior to vaccination. DO NOT administer Zostavax if the immune status of the patient is unclear. Resources are available to assist in the process.

Zostavax is a live, attenuated varicella zoster virus (VZV) vaccine used to prevent shingles in patients aged 50 years and older, and prevention of nerve pain associated with the virus in patients aged 60 years and older. Zostavax is contraindicated in patients with current or recent severe immunocompromising conditions from either a primary or acquired medical condition or medical treatment. 

Discount code: Authorised Nurse Immuniser course for RNs

CESPHN is proud to have supported over 300 RNs in completing their studies to be qualified Authorised Nurse Immunisers (ANI) over the last 12 months.

If you are an RN interested in completing studies to be a qualified ANI, please email to receive a 20% discount code, to complete studies with The Benchmarque Group – Immunisation Endorsement Pathway.

This course is accredited by HESA, conforming with the National Immunisation Education Framework for Health Professionals. Upon completion of the course, registered nurses and midwives will have the qualification to administer vaccinations in NSW, independent of a medical officer, as per NSW Health Authority.

The course involves practice in drawing up and administrating vaccinations in a simulated environment, as well as cold chain management and comprehensive knowledge in working out catch up schedules, assuring those participating are equipped with the knowledge and confidence to deliver vaccinations.

Novavax rollout commences

Tranche 1 primary care sites commenced Novavax administration from 21 February 2022. Practices have received an allocation of 200 doses of Novavax per fortnight and will be able to request an increase in allocation after the first administration week. Tranche 2 sites will commence from the 28 February 2022.

Novavax COVID-19 vaccine has been included in the standing Expression of Interest open for all general practices interested in expanding their participation in the Program.

Booster for RACF workers 

On 15 February, ATAGI advised that three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are advised for residential aged care workers. The third dose is required to provide up to date protection against both infection and severe disease.

COVID-19 vaccine branded badges

New merchandise is available for primary care clinics who administer COVID-19 vaccines. To receive a package of national COVID-19 vaccine branded badges to give to patients after receiving their vaccination, email to place your order.

TIP approach to improve childhood vaccination rates

The ‘Tree of community informed strategies to increase childhood vaccination rates’ resource presents practical strategies for health services to improve childhood vaccination rates in communities that may generally support vaccination, but experience socio-economic disadvantage and access barriers to immunisation services

The research followed the World Health Organization Tailoring Immunization Programmes (TIP) approach and, in addition to summarising practical strategies to improve childhood vaccination rates, shows the complex relationship between broad determinants of childhood vaccination.

Immunisation stakeholders across Australia are invited to use and adapt the ‘tree’ to their local needs. More information.

Guidance on medical exemptions for COVID-19 vaccines

On 18 February, ATAGI have updated guicdance for providers on acute major medical conditions that warrant a temporary medical exemption relevant for COVID-19 vaccines. What’s changed:

  • Rapid antigen tests (that where possible have been reported to the relevant State or Territory reporting system) are now considered acceptable proof of infection for the purposes of a temporary medical exemption to delay vaccination.
  • The time frame for temporary deferral of vaccination following SARS-CoV-2 infection has been updated from 6 months to 4 months.
  • The guidance is prepared to support completion of the Australian Immunisation Register immunisation medical exemption (IM011) form.
  • This advice covers those for whom an exemption can be provided and does not cover clinical management of adverse events. 

Guidance on use of multi-dose vials

ATAGI have updated guidance for the correct use of multi-dose vials and are provided in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic to minimise the risks of vial contamination, administration errors and vaccine wastage.

NCIRS webinar: Getting back to immunisation business as usual

Join the first NCIRS webinar for 2022 and reflect on where we are and where we are headed as we move into the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hear from our expert speakers on:

  • an update on Australian COVID‑19 vaccine recommendations
  • COVID-19 and routine immunisation programs regionally and globally – what’s needed
  • new COVID-19 vaccines – do we need to change our strategy in response to new variants?

Details: Thursday 3 March 2022 | 12:00 pm – 1.30 pm AEDT | Register here

COVID-19 live stream update for GPs 

Join the latest COVID-19 vaccine live stream update for GPs. The panel will provide latest key updates and answer participants’ questions live about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Details: Thursday 24 February 2022, 11:30am (AEDT) | Click link to join

Catch up on previous webinars.