Immunisation weekly update - 28 July 2021

28 July 2021

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On 24 July 2021, ATAGI advised that all individuals aged 18 years and above in greater Sydney should strongly consider getting vaccinated with any available vaccine including COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. A single dose of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca reduces transmission by around half, and provides more than 70% protection against hospitalisation.

Pfizer vaccine approved for use in people aged 12 to 15 years

On 22 July 2021 the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has provisionally approved the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (COMIRNATY) in individuals 12 years and older (previously 16 years and older). Further details of the data supporting TGA approval are included in the Product Information.

This age group is not yet eligible in the COVID-19 vaccination program to access the Pfizer vaccine - see current eligibility criteria.

Advice for people who have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine overseas

People returning to Australia from overseas who received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine that is not available in Australia can be offered an alternative vaccine brand to complete the primary vaccination course.

The recommended interval for administration of a second vaccine dose is 4 to 12 weeks after the first dose. A longer interval is acceptable if the second dose cannot be administered during this time window.

Advice for people with a contraindication to a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine

Contraindications to the administration of a COVID-19 vaccine include:

  • Anaphylaxis after a previous dose of COVID-19 vaccine
  • Anaphylaxis to any component of the vaccine including Polyethylene glycol (PEG) for Pfizer vaccine; Polysorbate 80 for AstraZeneca vaccine
  • Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) occurring after the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine
  • Any other serious adverse event attributed to a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine (and without another cause identified) following expert review (typically by a jurisdictional immunisation specialist service or a relevant medical specialist).

If an individual has a contraindication following a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, an alternative brand should be considered for the second dose. If the individual received either AstraZeneca, or Pfizer vaccine as their first dose, the recommended interval for administration of a second dose is 4 to 12 weeks after the first dose. A longer interval is acceptable if the second dose cannot be administered during this time window.

A serious adverse event following immunisation is an event that results in death, is life threatening, requires hospitalisation, results in persistent or significant disability or incapacity, results in a congenital anomaly/birth defect, is an unexpected reaction for that vaccine.

Prioritisation of individuals aged 70 and over

There are still high numbers of people aged 70 and above who have not received their first COVID-19 vaccine. Prioritisation for COVID-19 vaccines for individuals aged 70 and over is critical noting the number of COVID-19 outbreaks emerging across the country.

Practices are encouraged to reach out to patients not already booked in directly to support this group to get a COVID-19 vaccine appointment as soon as possible.

Mass vaccination hubs for aged and disability care workers

The Sonic Healthcare have opened a new mass vaccination clinic in the Sydney CBD. These centres specially cater to providing Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations for Aged and Disability Care workers eligible under Phases 1a and 1b of the national vaccination roll-out program. To book, visit Sonic Health website 

Aged care worker priority access through GPs and CVCs

Primary care vaccination clinics, including general practices and Commonwealth vaccination clinics (CVCs), are expected to prioritise aged care workers and make a vaccination appointment within 14 days of a request to be vaccinated. From 1 August appointments should be made within 7 days.

RACF provider-run vaccination clinics

The Government is strongly encouraging residential aged care providers to consider conducting on-site vaccination clinics. The Request for Tender (RFT) process enabling providers to vaccinate their workforce is open until 30 July 2021.

CESPHN webinar recording: Fighting the COVID-19 Delta variant

CESPHN webinar recording now available: Fighting the COVID-19 Delta variant.

This webinar, presented by Associate Professor Nicholas Wood, Associate Director, Clinical Research and Services, NCIRS Senior Staff Specialist discusses COVID-19 vaccine risks and benefits, vaccine effectiveness, emerging data around myocarditis, and current data around mixing COVID-19 vaccines. Local GPs and RNs also share practical tips and insights on how they run their vaccination clinics. 

COVID-19 live stream update 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. Get involved by submitting questions and comments!

Details: Thursday 29 July, 11:30am (AEDT) | Click link to join

Catch up on previous webinars 

New resources

COVID-19 vaccination – Find out the facts about COVID-19 vaccinations (27 July)

This fact sheet contains a collection of resources to help make an informed decision about COVID-19 vaccination.

COVID-19 vaccination – Disability provider alert (26 July)

This alert contains updates for disability service providers about the COVID-19 vaccination rollout.