This post is not the latest immunisation update and therefore may contain information or advice that is out of date.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

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Routine Childhood Immunisation

Australia has observed concerning downward trends in childhood immunisation coverage rates over the past two years, particularly for First Nations children.

The Department of Health and Aged Care is planning a promotion activity from April 2023 in response to the decline in childhood immunisation coverage rates. The objective of this campaign is to reinforce the importance of childhood immunisation and prompt parents to ensure timely completion of the vaccination schedule.

The Chief Medical Officer has written a letter to immunisation providers to highlight this campaign as well as provide information to support providers identify children overdue for vaccination, raise awareness about immunisation and counter misinformation.

Coadministration of Flu and COVID-19 Vaccine: MBS Billing

Can a flu vaccine service be provided at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine service?

ATAGI has advised that a COVID-19 vaccination and an influenza vaccination can be administered at the same time. These services may be provided during the same attendance.

Which MBS items can be billed for the coadministration of flu and COVID-19 vaccines?

A vaccine suitability assessment MBS item would be billed for the COVID-19 vaccination. Influenza vaccine may be administered under the applicable MBS attendance item. While a medical practitioner is not required under law to bulk-bill an attendance for influenza vaccination, a patient who also receives a COVID-19 booster vaccination as part of the same occasion of care must be bulk billed for the MBS COVID-19 vaccine suitability assessment component of the overall service. See Medicare factsheet.

Flu Vaccine: Supply and Timing

Influenza vaccines will be available free on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) to eligible people from April 2023. Information is available to assist providers with the management, roll-out and implementation of 2023 flu vaccine clinics.

Flu vaccine clinic reminder checklist:

  1. Download and review the Influenza Vaccination Provider ToolkitASAP
  2. Confirm pre-allocation flu vaccine order – Review and confirm vaccine pre-order on the NSW Vaccine Centre portal – from 6 March 2023
  3. Acknowledge delivery of flu vaccine pre-allocation order on the NSW Vaccine Centre portal – approx. mid April
  4. Administer flu vaccines from April onwards to provide protection for the peak of the influenza season, which is generally June to September

Providers are encouraged to review the following resources:

Adolescent Vaccination: Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic

The number of adolescent vaccinations given in 2020 and 2021 was lower than in 2019 due to the impacts of the pandemic.

Adolescents who missed out on school-based program vaccines (Boostrix, Gardasil 9 and Nimenrix) during the pandemic can receive catch-up vaccination from their GPs or other immunisation providers.

Read the full NCIRS report “Impact of COVID-19 on School-based Vaccination Programs”.

Bivalent vs Original COVID-19 Booster Vaccine

Bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccines have been developed to provide broader protection against the virus.

This article reviews the safety of bivalent COVID-19 vaccines and who should receive the vaccine.

NIP Advice for Vaccination Providers

This collection contains program advice for providers administering vaccines through the National Immunisation Program (NIP), including:

Updated Resources

Immunisation Education

NCIRS Influenza & COVID-19 update 2023

About: Annual influenza webinar to learn more about the updated recommendations for COVID-19 and influenza vaccination in 2023.

When: Thursday | 16 March 2023 | 12.00 – 1:00pm (AEDT)

Register for free now

Lunch and Learn: Milestone checks at scheduled childhood vaccination appointments

About: Please join us for a lunch and learn presentation on milestone checks – making the most of scheduled childhood vaccination appointments. Learn how to appropriately provide a milestone check to children attending your practice for scheduled vaccination.

When: Tuesday | 28 March 2023 | 12:30 – 1:30 pm

Register for free now

CESPHN Annual Immunisation Update

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 for free now