Australia has commenced rolling out COVID-19 booster shots to the population following new advice from Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI). People who are aged 18 years and over will be offered a booster shot six months after receiving their second dose. Immunisation providers must check the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) prior to administering any COVID-19 vaccines.
General practices who have stock and available bookings can commence providing boosters immediately. It is important that patients are aware the booster vaccination is not mandatory, however they are recommended to maintain immunity against COVID-19.
Boosters can be funded through the existing MBS items 93644, 93645, 93646, 93647, 93653, 93654, 93655 and 93656 are available to assess patients’ suitability for the second or subsequent dose of a COVID-19 vaccine dose.
From 1 November 2021, AstraZeneca COVISHIELD (ASTCOV), Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV (SINBBI), and Sinovac Coronavac (SINCOR) can now be recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) if they were given on or after 1 October 2020. As with other COVID-19 vaccines administered overseas, records must include a Country of immunisation and a Batch Number to be recorded on the AIR.
A list of all vaccines currently able to be reported to AIR is available on the AIR vaccine code page. COVID-19 vaccines brands that can currently be recorded on the AIR:
On 1 November 2021, the TGA determined that Covaxin (manufactured by Bharat Biotech, India) and BBIBP-CorV (manufactured by Sinopharm, China) vaccines would be ‘recognised’ for the purpose of establishing a traveller’s vaccination status, along with the previously announced recognition of Coronavac (manufactured by Sinovac, China) and Covishield (manufactured by AstraZeneca, India).
Vaccines currently approved in Australia are:
Janssen-Cilag COVID Vaccine.
Vaccines recognised by TGA for travel into Australia:
Vaccine wastage refers to the loss of vaccine doses due to cold chain breaches, expired vials or other damage. The COVID-19 Vaccination Training gives details on how to dispose of vaccines:
Prior to disposal, the outer packaging (carton) should be defaced by striking through at least one panel of the carton with a sharpie or similar marker.
Any unused vaccine or waste material should be disposed of in accordance with local requirements in a clinical waste bin – vials must be disposed of in the provided sharps container to ensure they cannot be accessed.
wastage less than 5 vials should be reported in your Vaccine Stock Management Report; and
wastage of 5 vias and over should also be reported within the Wastage Report
wastage incidents (e.g. damaged vials or breach of cold chain requirements), of 5 vias and over must be reported immediately (within 2 hours of the incident occurring) by calling the VOC on 1800 318 208
GPs and immunisation providers can email clinical questions to NSWISS, and NSWISS will provide advice to GPs who can then refer patients to an LHD in NSW that runs a Specialist Assessment and Supervised Vaccination Clinic (SASVC).
SASV clinics are now operational at Royal Prince Alfred, Liverpool, Campbelltown, Westmead Adults, John Hunter, Royal North Shore, Nepean and Wollongong Hospitals, with more being added.
Practices are encouraged to routinely review delegates in HPOS, including when staff leave an organisation. Visit the Services Australia website for instruction on how to edit and remove members delegations. All healthcare professionals with a HPOS account have access to My access history, which is an activity log showing a record of HPOS logins by users and their delegates for the previous 90 days. This is available via the main menu, My details, My access history:
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!
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