Immunisation weekly update - 25 November 2020

23 November 2020

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Are you an authorised nurse immuniser? 

Nurse vaccinators will be required to support rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.  A dedicated nurse vaccinator workforce will be needed to support administration of COVID-19 vaccines to aged care facilities and to assist vulnerable people get access to a COVID-19 vaccine.  

In preparation for this, Central and Eastern Sydney PHN (CESPHN) is creating a local database of authorised nurse immunisers working or living in the CESPHN region to support the rollout of the COVID -19 vaccine. 

Authorised Nurse Immuniser List

This database will enable CESPHN to communicate with nurse immunisers about any specific training around the administration of COVID-19 vaccine and notify nurses of any job opportunities that may become available.  

COVID-19 immunisation training  

Training is expected to include handling and administration training related to particular COVID-19 vaccines as well the use of multi-dose vials. Jurisdictions must ensure that their COVID-19 immunisation workforce has undertaken any bespoke training identified at a national level. Please see Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Policy 

Please email details below to immunisation@cesphn.com.au to be placed on the Authorised Nurse Immuniser list:

  • Full Name 
  • Email address 
  • Mobile number 
  • Are you are working within the CESPHN region
  • If yes…Organisation you work at and suburb 
  • If no…Are you living within the CESPHN region?        
  • If yes…Suburb and postcode: 

If you have any questions, please contact 1300 986 991 (option 3).  

What is an Authorised Nurse Immuniser?

An authorised nurse immuniser is a registered nurse or midwife who has completed an immunisation education program as specified in section 2.1 of the NSW Health Policy Directive with authority under the NSW Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 1966 to provide immunisation services without direct medical authorisation.

COVID-19 Vaccine: Priority groups and Policies 

Policy for providing COVID-19 vaccines  

The Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Policy, released on 13 Nov by the Commonwealth, outlines the approach to providing COVID-19 vaccines in Australia. 

The Policy sets out how the COVID-19 pandemic vaccination program will be rolled out - one of the biggest exercises in health logistics Australia has ever seen. 

Some key points for the vaccination program include: 

  • The COVID-19 vaccination will be free for all Medicare-eligible Australians and most visa-holders. 
  • Vaccination will not be mandatory, however it will be strongly recommended.
  • It is highly likely that two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine will be required for immunisation. 
  • GP practices will be key locations for COVID-19 vaccinations for the first three to six months of the roll-out. 
  • COVID-19 immunisers will be required to undertake bespoke COVID-19 vaccine training  
  • Recording COVID-19 vaccinations into the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) will be mandatory
  • The Commonwealth will track the movement of COVID-19 vaccine doses and uptake of vaccination. 
  • The program will be rolled out on the basis of identified priority populations. 

Priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination 

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has released preliminary advice on general principles to guide the prioritisation of target populations in a COVID-19 vaccination program in Australia.  

Possible priority population groups identified by ATAGI include: 

  • People who have an increased risk, relative to others, of becoming very sick or dying from COVID-19 should they contract it. 
  • People who are at increased risk of exposure and hence being infected with and transmitting SARS-CoV-2 to others at risk of severe disease or are in a setting with high transmission potential. 
  • People working in critical services to the functioning of our society, including select essential services staff and people working in supply and distribution of essential goods and services. 

Prepare your vaccine account for COVID-19 Vaccine 

Prepare for the COVID-19 vaccine! 

Medicare Provider numbers are required by the State Vaccine Centre to support roll out of the COVID-19 vaccination program. This is to ensure NSW Health can track the journey of every vaccine dose distributed from the warehouse, administered to the patient and reported to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). 

Log in to the NSW Vaccine Centre webpage to record Medicare provider numbers now! 

Is this mandatory? 

Yes. All practices with an active Vaccine Account Number (VAN) must record the Medicare Provider numbers of every Medicare approved provider administering vaccines at their practice (i.e. all GPs, midwives, and nurse practitioners). This does not include practice nurses. 

The Medicare Provider number will have a format such as 1468Y, it is not the prescriber number, AHPRA number or the AIR Registration number. The Medicare Provider number is a unique number issued to health professionals at each location they work and does not expire.  

Do practice nurses have a Medicare Provider number? 

No, unless they are also a nurse practitioner. The term 'practice nurse' should not be confused with the term 'nurse practitioner'. A practice nurse is an enrolled nurse or a registered nurse (including nurse practitioners) who is employed by, or whose services are otherwise retained by, a general practice. 

For questions or assistance, contact the CESPHN Immunisation team on 1300 986 991 (option 3), or email immunisation@cesphn.com.au 

 See full communication from NSW Health. 

Promotion! Foundations of Immunisation Practice

The Benchmarque Group is offering 10 discount codes for practice nurses to access the Foundations of Immunisation Practice online course free of charge (valued at $95).

This is the first module of the redesigned program “Course in Immunisation Practice” which has been divided into 3 individual modules:

  1. Foundations of Immunisation
  2. Immunisation needs in: Adults / Influenza / Pregnancy / School
  3. Practice of Immunisation

The Foundations of Immunisation Practice Program aims to provide students with the skills and knowledge required to work within the framework of immunisation and public health, with a focus on an understanding of the immune system, how vaccines work, communicable disease management and assessing a client’s eligibility for vaccinations. The course involves approximately 15 hours of self-paced online learning.

This foundations module is recommended for nurses new to the general practice setting or those wishing to refresh their skills.

Eligibility criteria

  • Nurse working in general practice within the CESPHN region
  • One discount code per general practice

These codes expire on Saturday 12 December 2020 so students must enrol before expiry date.

Contact the PHN Immunisation team immunisation@cesphn.com.au quickly to secure one of the 10 codes. Information required: full name, place of employment, job title, email, mobile, current qualification.

Recording vaccinations via Practice Software

The Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) is a national register that records vaccinations given to people of all ages in Australia.

Vaccination providers must record all vaccines given to patients of all ages. This includes flu vaccines and upcoming COVID-19 vaccines.

Recording vaccination encounters on AIR for all patients will likely be made mandatory in early 2021 with penalties applied for providers who fail to comply.

What is the fastest way to upload vaccine encounters to AIR?

Vaccine providers are reminded to always enter vaccination details into the specific Immunisation Tab in your practice software and not to  free type the information into the progress notes. Most practice software programs will auto-populate into the patient visit notes when a vaccination encounter is entered into the immunisation tab saving you time with double entry.

Using the immunisation tab will ensure the immunisation information can be uploaded to AIR directly from their practice software, whereass information from patient progress notes will not be uploaded directly to AIR .

Adult Vaccinations 

Adult vaccinations (including flu vaccinations) must be recorded in the same way to ensure they are correctly transmitted to AIR.

Correct coding  of vaccines into the practice software utilising the immunisation tab will also benefit the practice as it will enable practices to run reports relating to vaccinations for your patient population. This will be especially useful when planning COVID vaccine roll out for your practice also.

If your practice software does not automatically report vaccinations to the AIR, you will need to report these vaccinations directly using the AIR website via your PRODA login to AIR. 

For  pdf digital training or support (231 KB) on this, contact your practice's designated Digital Support Officer at digitalhealth@cesphn.com.au 

Survey: 2020 Influenza vaccine  

Completion of 2020 Influenza Vaccine Stocktake Survey will enable NSW Health to more accurately anticipate the vaccine quantities required by immunisation providers for the 2021 influenza season. Your responses will not be used for any other purpose. 

Complete the short online survey here. The survey will conclude on COB Friday 4 December. 

 

Survey: The impact of COVID-19 immunisation service delivery 

Monash University is currently undertaking a small research survey investigating the impact of COVID-19 on the delivery of immunisation services in Australia, on behalf of The Commonwealth Department of Health. 

The survey is aimed at all immunisation providers in Australia. The online survey link will be active and available to immunisation providers until the end of January 2021. 

GP Talking Points – November 2020 

The NSW Health Immunisation Unit is now providing brief updates to immunisation providers on common issues which have been raised through discussions with general practitioners and their staff during the previous month, including: 

  • Changes to State Vaccine Centre online ordering system / Expired vaccine reporting 
  • Pneumococcal Vaccines and current supply 
  • Zostavax – eligibility and clinical indications 

Read November GP Talking Points here.  

 

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Download the new NSW Immunisation Schedule – July 2020   

Keep up to date with Immunisation information on our PHN Immunisation webpage 

Keep up to date with coronavirus information on our PHN Coronavirus webpage.