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This post is not the latest immunisation update and therefore may contain information or advice that is out of date.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 – 24 November 2021

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COVID-19 booster doses – Clinical

ATAGI recommends booster doses to be given at least 6 months after dose 2 of the primary course of COVID-19 vaccines. NCIRS COVID-19 FAQ advises, in special circumstances general practitioners can use clinical judgment to ensure patients are protected, shortening the interval to no less than 5 months after the primary course, such as in remote areas or outreach vaccination programs or before overseas travel to a high-risk country. 

Other new questions answered on NCIRS COVID-19 FAQ include information on ‘fully vaccinated’ status without a booster dose and ‘long COVID’.

COVID-19 booster doses – Australian Immunisation Register (AIR)

Services Australia has confirmed that COVID-19 Vaccination Certificates will only display the dates of the last two COVID-19 vaccines administered irrelevant of how many a person may have received. The Immunisation history statement will give a comprehensive list of all vaccines administered.

When entering vaccinations directly onto the AIR site, there is no requirement for entering a dose number for adults. AIR records all adult doses as V (valid). The immunisation history statement does not list doses for adults. If you are required to enter a dose number in practice software, it can be entered as ‘3’ but AIR will count them according to date given so it does not need to be changed if it automatically defaults to ‘1’ in practice software.

Recording COVID-19 vaccinations on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR)

To ensure that individuals have a complete AIR record and can generate vaccination evidence, providers are encouraged to enter as much vaccine information as possible. It is a mandatory requirement under the Australian Immunisation Register Act 2015 to report:

· brand name

· dose number

· date of administration

· 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 ‘not recorded’, 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. Entering of overseas vaccination records must only be done with the patient in person at the practice when the patient returns to Australia.

Individuals will not be able to generate an International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate where this information has not been reported to the AIR. Providers are encouraged to enter this information directly into the AIR site. Further information about International COVID-19 Vaccination certificates is available on the Services Australia Website.

Update to NSW Pharmacist Vaccination Standards

The NSW Pharmacist Vaccination Standards have been amended. These recent changes allow pharmacist immunisers to administer any of the available COVID-19 vaccines in an expanded range of locations (section 2.2). These additional locations include Local Council Clinics and premises where services are provided to vulnerable people such as homeless people, people with a disability, Culturally And Linguistically Diverse (CALD) populations and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Reminder EOI: CESPHN Immunisation working group

CESPHN is seeking expressions of interest from General Practitioners and Practice Nurses who would like to be involved as members of an immunisation working group. This will involve attending two video conference meetings per year with CESPHN and the Public Health Unit and participate in discussions around immunisation planning and review of strategies. Representatives will be paid for their attendance as per the rate in the CESPHN Representation Policy.

To apply, please complete this formApplications close 26 November 2021.

A course in vaccinology and immunisation science

Recording now available: Doherty and NCIRS course in vaccinology and immunisation science – Module 1

The recording of the first ‘primer’ module in this practical online course is now available to view for free. The course is designed for people relatively new to the area of immunisation and for those wanting to broaden and update their understanding of vaccines, vaccine development and the principles underpinning the introduction and running of immunisation programs.

Find out more about the course or to enrol in future modules (fee involved).

NCIRS webinar: COVID-19 in children and adolescents: vaccines, transmission at school and disease outcomes

The final webinar for 2021 will focus on COVID-19 in children and adolescents with an update on:

  • vaccine recommendations and safety in children and adolescents
  • the latest data on transmission in schools in Australia, including the experience in NSW since the return to face-to-face learning outcomes in children with COVID-19 and long-term follow-up.

Wednesday 8 December 12:00 – 1:30pm 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. Get involved by submitting questions and comments!

Details: Thursday 25 November, 11:30am (AEDT) | Click link to join

Catch up on previous webinars 

New and updated resources

NCIRS COVID-19 FAQ – New questions answered on booster doses & long COVID

17 Nov: COVID-19 vaccination – Fact sheet – Facts about COVID-19 vaccines (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples)

12 Nov: COVID-19 vaccination – Commonly asked questions about booster doses

11 Nov: COVID-19 vaccination – Commonly asked questions about pregnancy (other languages)