Immunisation weekly update - 19 May 2021

19 May 2021

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New immunisation pop quiz!

COVID-19 vaccines have been the hot topic for 2021, but don’t forget to recommend the annual flu vaccine to patients!

Test your knowledge on this year's influenza vaccination program in this week’s Pop Quiz: Influenza 2021

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.

Get vaccinated against the flu

As we enter the cold and flu season, encourage patients to get vaccinated against the flu. Last year saw a significantly reduced flu season, and behaviours like increased hand washing and physical distancing helped to stop the spread of influenza viruses in the community. 

Flu vaccination is recommended for everyone over the age of 6 months and is free for:

  • people aged 65 years and over
  • pregnant women (at any stage during pregnancy)
  • all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over
  • all children aged 6 months to less than 5 years
  • people aged 6 months and over with certain medical conditions that increase their chance of severe influenza and its complications.

Important reminders:

  • An interval of 14 days between the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine is required, regardless of which vaccine is administered first.
  • All influenza vaccinations administered must be reported to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).
A range of information and resources for the 2021 influenza vaccine season are available on the CESPHN Immunisation - Influenza website.

Adverse events following immunisation (AEFIs)

 If patients experience an adverse event following the administration of a COVID-19 vaccine, these must be reported, and standard adverse event reporting practices should be followed.

All uncommon, serious or unexpected adverse events or any event felt to be significant that occurs after having a vaccination should be reported.

How to report a suspected AEFIs - anyone can submit reports directly to the TGA and PHU:

Updated - ATAGI clinical guidance on COVID-19 vaccine in Australia in 2021

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has updated its clinical guidance for immunisation providers and program staff on the use of COVID-19 vaccines.

Changes from the previous version (v2.0) include: information on thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), a newly identified condition very rarely associated with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca.

Updated vaccine recommendations:

  • Comirnaty preferred over COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca for people aged <50 years and for people with a past history of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) or heparin induced thrombocytopenia (HIT)
  • updated guidance on vaccine storage and handling
  • updated information on SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern
  • updated list of medical conditions associated with an increased risk of severe illness.

Read updated advice on the Department of Health website.

In-reach COVID-19 vaccinations for aged care workers

The Department encourages primary care providers to administer in-reach vaccination services to residential aged care staff if requested by a facility or the relevant Primary Health Network (PHN). 

This will support timely access to COVID-19 vaccinations for the residential aged care workforce. 

These clinics can be timed to align with health care attendances for aged care residents where eligible practitioners can claim a flag fall to assist in the cost of travelling to a residential aged care facility.

See factsheet: In-reach COVID-19 vaccination clinics for aged care workers by primary care providers

AstraZeneca stock expiry

There is an AstraZeneca vaccine batch (PW40043, PW40038 and PV46672) due to expire on 30 June 2021. Check the batch expiry dates on your vaccines and rotate the stock appropriately to minimise the risk of expired vaccine doses.

General practices not participating in the COVID-19 vaccination program

  • General practices not in the vaccination program are encouraged to direct patients to the COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker. Using this tool, patients will be able to find out when they’ll be eligible for vaccination.

    • If they are eligible, they can find a clinic near them to book an appointment.
    • If they are not eligible, they can register their interest to be notified, either by email or SMS, when COVID-19 vaccination is available to them.

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 20 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

The Australian Academy of Science has launched a new guide about the science of immunisation to help counter misinformation and uncertainty surrounding vaccines for COVID-19 and other diseases.