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This post is not the latest immunisation update and therefore may contain information or advice that is out of date.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 – 5 May 2021

5 May 2021

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New Immunisation Pop Quiz!

Test your knowledge in this week’s Pop Quiz: Is it a cold chain breach?

Share quiz with your colleagues for a fun challenge, or as an activity at your next staff meeting!

Check out other Immunisation Pop Quiz on our Education webpage.

Childhood Immunisation Coverage Data

The latest data on childhood immunisation coverage by Primary Health Network (PHN) is now available for the period 1 April 2020 – 31 March 2021.

In Central and Eastern Sydney PHN, coverage rates have improved for the 1 year old and 2 year old cohorts. See data for all children March 2021 annualised data and data for children in our region CESPHN coverage rates. COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Update

National Cabinet agreed to a recalibrated model of the COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout Strategy to account for the updated ATAGI advice, that Pfizer be the preferred vaccine for people under 50.

This model includes bringing forward access for eligible individuals aged 50 to 69.

  • From 3 May 2021: people 50 years and over can receive the AstraZeneca vaccine at General Practice Respiratory Clinics and state and territory vaccination clinics.
  • From 17 May 2021: people 50 years and over can receive the AstraZeneca vaccine at a participating general practice.

General practices can apply to the Australian Government Department of Health to begin vaccinating the over 50’s population earlier through their PHN by emailing

6 months left: Zostavax Catch Up Program

Funding for people aged 71 to 79 under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) for zoster vaccine ends 31 October 2021.

After this date Zostavax will only be funded for people 70 years of age, and people aged 71 years and over will be required to purchase the vaccine privately.

Who should be vaccinated?

Identify and contact eligible patients aged 71 to 79 years using your data extraction tools PenCAT or POLAR. For assistance, contact your digital health officer at

Who should not be vaccinated?

People who are immunocompromised due to disease or medication, pregnant women, and those who have previously had anaphylaxis to any VZV-containing vaccine or its components should not receive the zoster vaccine.

Further information

NCIRS | Herpes zoster factsheet  

2021 Influenza Vaccination Program Updates

Safety data for 2021 seasonal influenza vaccines now available

As at 29 April 2021 courtesy of AusVaxSafety website

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AusVaxSafety commenced routine monitoring of the safety of influenza vaccines in people of all ages from 29 March 2021. Influenza vaccine safety results are updated weekly.

View the latest data here

AusVaxSafety has monitored the safety of influenza vaccines administered to Australians of all ages since 2017. Since then, over 477,000 individuals or their parent/carer have provided details about any adverse events experienced after influenza vaccination.

Parent-friendly influenza vaccination resources from SKAI

Influenza vaccination resources for parents are available from Sharing Knowledge About Immunisation (SKAI). Written specifically for parents, the resources are designed to support their influenza vaccination information needs and guide them in their decision to vaccinate.

Available on the SKAI for Parents and the SKAI for Providers websites, the resources include:

  1. general information for parents who are ready to vaccinate against influenza
  2. a Q&A for parents who may have questions about influenza vaccination.

View the resources and learn more about SKAI here.

Additional influenza resources:

Administration & Timing of COVID-19 and other vaccines 

Routine co-administration of a COVID-19 vaccine on the same day as another vaccine is not recommended:

  • There should be a minimum interval of 14 days between receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine and any other vaccine, whether live or non-live.
  • If a COVID-19 vaccine has inadvertently been administered on the same day or within 14 days before or after other vaccines, no vaccine doses need to be repeated.
  • Although immune interference is unlikely between vaccines that do not contain common antigens, there are currently no immunogenicity or safety data on co-administration of COVID-19 vaccines with other vaccines.

Shortening of the interval between COVID-19 vaccine and another vaccine:

  • An individual risk–benefit assessment is necessary to consider shortening of the interval between, or offer same day administration of, a COVID-19 vaccine with another vaccine.
  • This may be considered if there is a high risk of imminent exposure to the vaccine-targeted disease, or it is highly likely that the opportunity of receiving either vaccine will be missed.
  • If same day or reduced-interval vaccination is proposed, patients should be counselled about the possible adverse events from each vaccine and advised to report adverse events.

Further information:

AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine – dose interval 

The recommended interval between two doses of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca is 12 weeks.

Shortening the interval from 12 weeks (to no less than 4 weeks) between doses is acceptable and may be appropriate in certain circumstances such as imminent travel, anticipated risk of COVID-19 exposure, etc.

The minimum interval and recommended interval between doses:

  • If a dose has been inadvertently given before the minimum 4-week interval, it is not currently recommended that the vaccine dose be repeated.
  • If the second dose of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca is administered later than the recommended 12-week interval, no vaccine doses need to be repeated.

Further information:

Interchangeablity of COVID-19 vaccine brands 

On the basis of currently available information, Comirnaty and COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca are not considered interchangeable:

  • The two-dose course should be completed with the same vaccine.
  • There are no data yet on the efficacy of mixed schedules.

If an individual develops anaphylaxis or a severe allergic reaction after the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, an alternate brand can be considered for the second dose. If an alternate brand is used for the second dose, a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine does not need to be given.

COVID-19 vaccine updates 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.

Details:  Thursday 6 May, 11:30am-12:30pm (AEDT) | Click link to join

Get involved by submitting questions and comments!

Catch up on previous webinars 

New resources and webinars

Webinar: Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine program reset: navigating safety, acceptance and uptake

  • NCIRS webinar | 30 April 2021
  • This webinar discusses updates on the Australian Government COVID-19 vaccine roll out plan and what this means for immunisation providers, information on thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) and AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine, and practical strategies for communicating with your patients to increase vaccine acceptance and uptake.