This post is not the latest immunisation update and therefore may contain information or advice that is out of date.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 – 4 May 2022

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: Adult immunisations 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have higher rates of some vaccine preventable diseases. Some National Immunisation Program vaccines can be accessed at a younger age for people in this population group. The below table summarises the vaccines recommended for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by adult age groups

AgeVaccineNIP funding
Aboriginal people 70-79 years
Zoster (shingles) vaccine

Funded for all 70-year-oldsFunded catch up extended until 31/10/2023 for all 71-79 year olds
Aboriginal people ≥50 yearsPneumococcal vaccinePrevenar 13®: from 50 yearsPneumovax 23®: 2-12 months laterPneumovax 23®: at least 5 years laterFunded for all aboriginal people 50 years and over
Aboriginal people ≥50 yearsCOVID-19 winter booster dosePfizer or Moderna: preferred vaccineAstraZeneca: when mRNA vaccines are contraindicated or declinedNovavax: when no other COVID-19 vaccine is suitableFunded for all aboriginal people 50 years and overfrom 4 months after Booster, orfrom 3 months after a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection
Aboriginal people ≥16 yearsCOVID-19 booster dosePfizer or Moderna: 16 years and overAstraZeneca: 18 years and over, when mRNA vaccines are contraindicated or declined

Novavax: 18 years and over, when no other COVID-19 vaccine is suitable
Funded for all people 16 years and overfrom 3 months after primary pourse, orfrom 3 months after a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection
Aboriginal people ≥ 6 monthsAnnual influenza vaccine6 months to less than 5 years: Vaxigrip Tetra® or Fluarix® Tetra5 years to 64 years: Vaxigrip Tetra®, Fluarix® Tetra or Afluria® Quad65 years and over: Fluad® QuadFunded for all aboriginal people 6 months and over

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: COVID-19 vaccination uptake

The COVID-19 vaccination report (27 April 2022) lists the percentage of people who have self-identified as Indigenous who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 by local government area (LGA). The percentages are broken down for individuals who have received 2 doses, and individuals who have received 3 or more doses. *It should be noted when interpreting the data, that COVID-19 vaccination is now recommended to be delayed by 3 months after a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection which may affect uptake.

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mRNA vaccine dose interval: extended to 8 weeks

ATAGI recommends an 8-week interval between dose one and dose two for Pfizer and Moderna for people aged 5 years and older, particularly for males aged 12 to 39 years. The extended dose interval has been shown to improve the immune response to vaccination, may improve effectiveness, and may also reduce the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis. 

The dose interval can be reduced (to a minimum of 3 weeks for Pfizer or 4 weeks for Moderna) for people at higher risk of severe COVID-19 (including older adults and people with underlying medical conditions), in an outbreak setting, or prior to international travel.

ATAGI flowchart: COVID-19 vaccine recommendation by age and population group

This flowchart (updated 2 May 2022) summarises the ATAGI recommendations relating to COVID-19 vaccines. It outlines the appropriate vaccine brand and doses that are recommended for each age and population group.

Defer COVID-19 vaccination for 3 months after SARS-CoV-2 infection 

Vaccination is recommended to be deferred for at least 3 months after a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection for all COVID-19 vaccine doses, including booster doses. This updated advice reflects the lower risk of reinfection with the Omicron variant within the first 3 months following a confirmed infection, particularly if prior COVID-19 vaccine doses have been received. 

This recommendation does not apply to other vaccines (for example, influenza vaccinations) which can continue to be administered as soon as a person recovers from acute infection. 

RAT now acceptable for temporary vaccine exemption

Rapid antigen tests reported to the State 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.

IFNAR1 Deficiency and serious adverse events following immunisation

IFNAR1 deficiency is a rare inherited condition affecting some people in Australia of Western Polynesian heritage including Tongan, Samoan, and Niuean people. The Chief Medical Officer has provided ATAGI information

The CMO letter and ATAGI advice is now available.

SPIKEVAX Bivalent Zero/Omicron COVID-19 vaccine – granted “provisional determination”

On 27 April 2022 the TGA granted provisional determination for the Moderna bivalent COVID-19 vaccine “Spikevax Bivalent Zero/Omicron”. Moderna has developed a bivalent vaccine that includes the mRNA sequence encoding the spike protein of the Omicron variant of concern and the original Spikevax vaccine.

Provisional determination means that Moderna is now able to apply for provisional registration for the bivalent vaccine for active immunisation to prevent COVID-19, but does not guarantee approval of the application. 


COVID-19 live stream update for GPs

  • COVID-19 vaccine live stream for GPs – key updates and live Q&A 
  • Details: Thursday 5 May 2022 at 11:30am (AEDT) 
  • Click link to join

Winter Preparedness Webinar for GPs

  • Discussion on vaccination and treatments for COVID-19 and influenza.
  • Details: Monday 2 May 2022 at 3pm to 4pm (AEST) 
  • Watch recording here

Preventing shingles and its complications

  • Update on herpes zoster, its complications and disease burden; and herpes zoster vaccines available
  • Details: Thursday 12 May 2022 at 12:30pm – 2:00pm 
  • Register now

Practice Nurse Orientation

  • Orientation on the role of nurses in the primary health care team in the private business environment
  • Details: Tuesday 24 May 2022 at 7:00pm to 8:30pm
  • Register now

Immunisation news

Catch up on previous Immunisation Weekly Updates.