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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This post is not the latest immunisation update and therefore may contain information or advice that is out of date.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 – 29 June 2022

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Booster dose protects against Omicron

An Australian-first COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness study has shown that receipt of a booster (third) COVID-19 vaccine dose provided 65% greater protection against hospitalisation or death from Omicron than two vaccine doses. The NCIRS study followed over 2 million adults aged 40 years and over living in Greater Sydney during the peak of the Omicron wave in Australia in January and February 2022 for SARS-CoV-2 infection, hospitalisation and death.

Monkeypox (MPX) resources

A series of Monkeypox resources can be accessed on the Department of Health website. These resources provide information about the symptoms of MPX, preventing infection, as well as ATAGI clinical guidance on vaccination and treatment guidelines.

Novavax as a booster dose

Novavax is currently registered for use in a primary COVID-19 vaccination course in people aged 18 years or older. On 9 June 2022, the TGA provisionally approved the Novavax vaccine for use in Australia as a booster dose. ATAGI recommendations consider Novavax to be acceptable for use as a booster dose in an individual aged 18 or older if no other COVID-19 vaccine is suitable for that individual. ATAGI is currently reviewing available evidence and will update its recommendations regarding Novavax use as a booster shortly.

Vaccination campaigns

‘Kids will be kids’ COVID-19 vaccine campaign

On 24 June, the latest phase of the COVID-19 campaign was launched to encourage parents of children aged 5 to 15 to book their child’s COVID-19 vaccination. The ‘Kids will be kids’ campaign highlights the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccination to protect children against COVID-19. View the campaign materials.

‘Take on winter’ COVID-19 and flu vaccine campaign

On 23 June, the latest phase of the COVID-19 campaign was launched to encourage Australians to get up to date with their COVID-19 vaccination and receive their flu vaccination this winter. The new ‘Take on winter’ campaign reminds people we are more vulnerable to illnesses this year and it’s safe to have both COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations at the same time. View the campaign materials

Influenza vaccination coverage 2022 – at a glance

Up-to-date influenza vaccination coverage rates now published weekly on the NCIRS website. The Australian Immunisation Register data used is current as at 26 June 2022 and is updated weekly. There are different tiles to explore data by jurisdiction, by age group, and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. See national influenza vaccination coverage and influenza vaccination coverage by jurisdiction. Coverage in 2022 is also compared with 2020 and 2021 data.

Vaccine Administration Errors

Winter is a very busy time for all immunisation providers, with the 2022 Influenza program coinciding with the continuing COVID-19 vaccine program. To avoid vaccine administration errors, providers should always check the vial and syringe to ensure the correct vaccine is being used, and confirm with patient prior to each administration. Providers can contact the VOC on 1800 318 208 for advice on vaccine administration errors that have occurred.

The ATAGI flowchart has been developed to help avoid vaccine administration errors. The flowchart summarises recommendations on suitable vaccine brands by age, booster eligibility, and appropriate dose intervals. It includes recommendations for both general population and special population groups (immunocompromised, pregnant, etc).

Opportunistic vaccination against flu and COVID-19

Although providers are encouraged to minimise waste, the DOH have recently announced that providers can now open a COVID-19 vial to opportunistically vaccinate a patient if required. Both the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine should be offered opportunistically to all patients during GP consultations, noting that COVID-19 and flu vaccines can be co-administered.

Upcoming immunisation webinars

Vaccine Acceptance in General Practice

  • This webinar will take a case-based approach to address low vaccine confidence and provide strategies to identify and engage patients who refuse vaccines.
  • Register here – two sessions available:
    • Wednesday 6 July 2022 at 7:00pm to 8:00pm (AEST)
    • Thursday 7 July 2022 at 1:00pm to 2:00pm (AEDT)
  • Presented by A/Prof Holly Seale (Social Scientist) and Dr Damian Flanagan (GP)
  • CPD: The 1 hour webinar is RACGP accredited for 2 CPD points

GP weekly webinar: booster doses and influenza vaccines

  • This week’s Department of Health webinar will be discussing the third and fourth doses of COVID-19 vaccines and the influenza vaccines. GPs and all health professionals are welcome.
  • Click link to join webinar onThursday 30 June 2022 at 11:30am (AEST).

Catch up on last week’s GP webinar which discussed “Long COVID management in primary care”.

Immunisation news

Catch up on previous Immunisation Weekly Updates.