This post is not the latest immunisation update and therefore may contain information or advice that is out of date.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 – 25 August 2021

25 August 2021

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CESPHN Scholarship for Authorised Nurse Immuniser course

Central and Eastern Sydney PHN is offering registered nurses working in general practice and residential aged care facilities (RACF) within the CESPHN region the opportunity to apply for a scholarship to complete studies to become a qualified authorised nurse immuniser in NSW and administer vaccinations independent of a medical officer.

For more information and to apply, visit our website.

Call out for RNs to work shifts in general practice delivering COVID-19 vaccines

CESPHN is asking any RNs that have availability to work extra shifts in general practice COVID-19 vaccination clinics to please fill out this form. We are requesting 1-2 days a week for a casual basis (roughly 12 weeks), in the LGAs of Georges River, Bayside and Canterbury-Bankstown. Thank you to those who have already filled out this form. 

Priority Pfizer appointments

NSW Health now have a landing page for finding your COVID-19 vaccination. There are priority bookings for the following groups:

Priority Pfizer appointments are also available via Sydney Local Health District  to people aged 16-39 who live in:

  • the Sydney Local Health District, OR
  • the local government areas of Bayside, Blacktown, Burwood, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool, Parramatta, Strathfield or Penrith

COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to be expanded to 16-39-year-olds from August 30

People aged 16 to 39 will be eligible for the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine nationwide from 30 August 2021. The Eligibility Checker will be updated and more information about how to make a booking will be available soon.

To simplify the transition of national eligibility to include those aged 16 to 39, general practices that have capacity and available stock may book patients based on state and territory eligibility criteria. Phase 1 populations (such as aged and disability care staff, Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people aged 12 and over, health care workers and those with an underlying health condition) should still be prioritised.

For example, in NSW you may book and vaccinate school or early childhood teachers (based on the jurisdictional eligibility criteria) – this will not be reflected on the eligibility checker.

Clinical guidance on COVID-19 vaccine in Australia in 2021 (v7.0)

The updated clinical guidance provides recommendations on the use of the Comirnaty (Pfizer) COVID-19 vaccine and COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. Recent changes from previous versions of ATAGI Clinical guidance on COVID-19 vaccines in Australia include:

  • Spikevax (Moderna), an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, is registered for use in people aged ≥ 18 years.
  • Updated information about serious adverse events that may warrant the use of an alternative vaccine brand for subsequent doses
  • ATAGI’s recommended schedule for Spikevax is 2 doses, 28 to 42 days (4-6 weeks) apart
  • The absolute minimum interval for 2 doses of any COVID-19 vaccine to be considered valid is 14 days. ATAGI will provide further guidance regarding a repeat dose after an unacceptably short interval when more information about the use of a third dose becomes available.

NDIS children aged 12 to 15

ATAGI has updated their advice on 12-15 year old eligibility which the Commonwealth has accepted. The following groups of children aged 12–15 years should be prioritised for vaccination using the Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine:

  • those on the National Disability Insurance Scheme and/or living with significant disability requiring frequent assistance with activities of daily living: Including down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, severe intellectual disability;
  • those with specified medical conditions (severe asthma, diabetes, obesity, cardiac circulatory congenital anomalies, epilepsy and those who are immunocompromised);
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 12-15; and
  • all children aged 12 to 15 in remote communities, as part of broader community outreach vaccination programs.

Name change of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca to VAXZEVRIA

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved AstraZeneca’s submission to change the name of its COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca to VAXZEVRIA.

The name is now consistent with that used overseas, including in the European Union and Canada. This is expected to alleviate confusion and further clarify that the vaccine produced by CSL and Seqirus in Melbourne is the same as that produced internationally. This name change will also help facilitate international recognition for Australians who have been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Commonwealth Booking System

The Commonwealth Booking Platform (CBP) is an online COVID-19 vaccination booking system that is specifically designed for COVID-19 vaccines. It complies with government requirements around accessibility, privacy and security, and is available at zero cost. For more information visit the CBP website or email

COVID-19 vaccination services must be bulk-billed

A reminder that providers cannot charge out of pocket expenses for the COVID-19 vaccine for Medicare eligible or ineligible patients. All COVID-19 vaccination services must be bulk-billed (or free for non-Medicare eligible).

COVID-19 vaccination services for Medicare eligible or ineligible patients cannot be made contingent on any other service or fee, including (but not limited to):

  • Patient registration fees for patients new to a practice
  • Book-keeping or registration fees for the appointment
  • General health checks (these should be incorporated into the bulk-billed patient eligibility assessment or bulk billed in-depth patient assessment) or
  • Any other service which the practice or practitioner requires before any COVID-19 MBS item.

If an individual does not have a Medicare (or DVA) card, or is not eligible for Medicare, they can be directed to their closest Commonwealth Vaccination Clinic, State or Territory Vaccination Site, or Community Pharmacy administering COVID-19 vaccinations. Vaccine providers are able to administer COVID-19 vaccine to people who are not Medicare eligible, but it must be free of charge.

New and updated resources

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 26 August, 11:30am (AEDT) | Click link to join

Catch up on previous webinars