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This post is not the latest immunisation update and therefore may contain information or advice that is out of date.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 – 8 February 2023

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HPV vaccination now single dose on NIP

Changes from 6 February 2023 to human papillomavirus vaccination (Gardasil®9) dose schedule under the National Immunisation Program:

  • Routine schedule for people aged 12 to 13 years will change to a single dose (previously a 2 dose schedule)
  • Catch-up eligibility will be extended to include people up to and including 25 years of age.
  • Young people (except those who are immunocompromised) who receive a single dose before 26 years of age are considered fully vaccinated and will not need further doses.

State and Territory health departments will be communicating the changes to parents of adolescents eligible for the HPV vaccine at school in 2023.

From 6 February 2023, the routine 2-dose HPV vaccine schedule provided to young people aged 12 to 13 years will become a single dose schedule. The National Immunisation Program (NIP) provides the schedule using the same vaccine.

Expanded eligibility for Lagevrio and Paxlovid

Following advice from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee, the PBS eligibility criteria for Lagevrio and Paxlovid were expanded on 1 January 2023, to ensure greater access for people who are vulnerable to severe disease.

As part of the listing change on 1 January 2023, access has expanded to include:

  • patients with any significantly immunocompromising condition where in the last 12 months, the patient has received anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody treatment; and
  • patients who have been previously hospitalised with COVID-19 disease if subsequently re-infected (patients aged at least 50 years or First Nation’s patients aged at least 30 years).

This recommendation was clarified on 1 February 2023 to include ‘all patients over the age of 18 years who have been previously hospitalised with COVID-19 disease, if subsequently re-infected.’ Please see the COVID-19 oral treatments factsheet for more information.

A reminder also about eligibility for COVID-19 oral treatments. If you have a patient who tests positive for COVID-19, they may be eligible for antiviral treatments if they are:

  • 70 years of age or older, regardless of risk factors and with or without symptoms
  • 50 years of age or older with 2 additional risk factors for developing severe disease or have had a past COVID 19 infection resulting in hospitalisation
  • First Nations person, 30 years of age or older and with 1 additional risk factor for developing severe disease
  • 18 years of age or older and moderately to severely immunocompromised.

Updated COVID-19 vaccination MBS items

From 1 February 2023, the COVID-19 vaccination MBS items have been streamlined and simplified to reflect integration of these services into routine care. The MBS benefits for these items have been adjusted so that no vaccine suitability assessment service will receive a lower MBS benefit than under the previous arrangements.

The flag-fall payment for vaccine suitability assessment services has been increased to cover the cessation of the In-reach Practice Incentive Program payment. The flag-fall is paid once for each visit to a residential aged care facility, residential disability facility, or a patient’s home. General practices are encouraged to consider their capacity to assist with in-reach vaccinations for aged care residents or workers and residential disability patients and workers.

Please be aware, COVID-19 vaccine suitability assessments and associated services are required to be bulk-billed, with no provider able to charge an additional fee for the service or require another service which has an out-of-pocket cost.

Free Translating Service

The Australian Government has created a free service to assist in the translating of personal documents. This service allows holders of certain types of visas to get key personal documents (such as immunisation history statements and other important medical information) translated for free. To start an application please visit the Free Translating Service website.

Immunisation overdue reports – order report here

CESPHN is inviting general practice to sign up to receive a regular report extracted on your behalf from the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) which is specific to your practice – order by filling out this form.

Immunisation Education

Lunch and Learn: Immunisation catch ups

  • About: Please join us for an interactive lunch and learn presentation on immunisation catch up schedules. How to work them out, skills and insight to know in preparing a catch up schedule.
  • When: Tuesday | 28 February 2023 | 12:30 – 1:30 pm (AEDT)
  • Register: Free – Click link to register. Please note numbers are limited as this session will be interactive.

NSW Flu Vaccination Update 2023 – RACGP Webinar

  • About: Participants will receive an update on the 2023 NSW Influenza Vaccination Program to help ensure they are well positioned to support their patients for the coming influenza season.
  • When: Tuesday | 28 February 2023 | 7:30 – 8:30 pm (AEDT)
  • Register: Free – Click link to register.

CESPHN Annual Immunisation Update – SAVE THE DATE

  • About: Latest updates on the COVID-19 vaccination program, NSW Influenza Vaccination Program and more. Agenda TBC
  • When: Tuesday | 4 April 2023 | 7:00 – 8:30 pm (AEDT)
  • Register: Further details and registration to follow