Immunisation weekly update - 13 April 2022

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Booster doses not recommended for people aged 12–15 years

On 8 April 2022 the TGA approved a booster dose of Comirnaty (Pfizer) COVID-19 vaccine for use in adolescents aged 12-15 years. However at this time, ATAGI does not recommend that adolescents aged 12-15 years need to receive a booster dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Current data suggest that COVID-related serious illness is very rare in adolescents aged 12-15, particularly after completion of a primary series of COVID-19 vaccination. ATAGI will continue to review and consider new evidence on the benefits and risks of any additional doses in 12-15 year olds, including for those with underlying medical conditions.

COVID-19 Program site or vaccine withdrawals

Practices can choose to withdraw from the COVID-19 Program completely or withdraw from administering selected vaccines. Contact CESPHN at coronavirus@cesphn.com.au to notify your intention to withdraw or amend the vaccines you will be administering. CESPHN will pass this information onto the Taskforce in a timely manner to enable the accurate administration of the request.

COVID-19 incentive and MBS item extension  

COVID-19 MBS items and COVID-19 practice incentives have been extended to 31 December 2022:

  • MBS item 93624 - First dose suitability assessment
  • MBS item 93644 - Subsequent doses suitability assessment
  • MBS item 93666 - Booster dose incentive: third dose vaccine suitability assessment 
  • MBS item 90005 - Flag-fall for remote suitability assessment: attendance at a RACF, residential disability facility setting or a patient’s place of residence
  • MBS item 10660 - In-depth assessment: a face-to-face patient consultation with a GP. Only one in-depth patient assessment service per patient lifetime.
  • MBS item 93660 – Remote supervision assessment: a remote suitability assessment service by a suitably qualified health professional on behalf of the GP.
  • COVID-19 vaccine Practice Incentive Program $10 for each patient who has received both a first-dose and second-dose assessment service at the same practice
  • Practice Incentives Program COVID-19 In-reach clinics $1000 incentive for 50 workers and $20 per worker/resident thereafter for In-reach vaccination clinics at RACFs and disability services

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Novavax safety data 

Novavax COVID-19 vaccine real-time safety data is now available. People in Australia are reporting similar rates of expected short-term vaccine side effects following Novavax COVID-19 vaccine as those reported by people who received other COVID-19 vaccines.

Use of sedation for COVID-19 vaccination

ATAGI advice on use of sedation for COVID-19 vaccination provides an overview of the principles for the use of sedation as one of a range of measures to assist in the safe administration of COVID-19 vaccines.

The process of administering a vaccine may cause severe anxiety in some individuals with needle-phobia and may be difficult in certain individuals with behavioural disorders. In patients where non-pharmacological techniques have failed, sedation may facilitate safe administration of vaccines in some special circumstances.

In-language videos about COVID-19 vaccination 

In-language videos with multicultural GPs about vaccinating children aged 5 to 11 is now available in Assyrian, Cantonese, Mandarin, Hindi and Punjabi. This language set contains translations of a video in which doctors talk about COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 5 to 11 and encourage parents and carers to book vaccinations for their children.

COVID-19 vaccination coverage in children 

Due to the low uptake of vaccinations for children in the Canterbury-Bankstown, Bayside and George’s River LGAs, practice are strongly encouraged to promote childhood COVID-19 vaccination during the Easter school holidays. Download the AIR42A report to identify all children due for the COVID-19 vaccine or contact immunisation@cesphn.com.au for assistance with accessing the report for your practice.  

Latest AusVaxSafety safety data shows most children report no side effects following Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination.

5 11 yrs 

Flu vaccine safety data

With 2022 seasonal influenza vaccines now available across Australia, AusVaxSafety has commenced active surveillance to monitor the adverse event profile and safety of the vaccines in near-real time.

Help stop the flu in 2022 

See the Dept of Health’s Help stop the flu in 2022 consumer campaign: This year, it’s even more important to get the influenza vaccine as we are more vulnerable to influenza. This is due to lower recent exposure to the virus and lower uptake of influenza vaccines in 2021. With international borders reopening, it’s likely we will see more influenza in 2022.

Annual vaccination is the most important measure to prevent influenza and its complications. The influenza vaccine is recommended for all individuals aged 6 months and over. See latest Influenza immunisation data – 1 March 2022 to 10 April 2022.

Who is eligible for a free NIP flu vaccine?

Annual influenza vaccination is funded under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) for people aged ≥6 months who are at increased risk of severe influenza. These include:

  • all Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people aged ≥6 months
  • all children aged 6 months to <5 years
  • all adults aged ≥65 years
  • people with specified medical conditions (refer to Table 1)
  • pregnant women (during any stage of pregnancy).

Table medical conditions flu

Prepare for flu season using CAT Plus

During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been less exposure to the influenza virus and lower influenza vaccine coverage. A resurgence of influenza is expected in 2022 with borders reopening.

Learn how to increase influenza immunisation coverage in your practice without interrupting your current workflow. Watch: Increase Influenza Immunisation Coverage in your Practice with CAT Plus for GPs, Practice Nurses, and Practice Managers. See other CAT Plus videos

FLU app on Topbar

  • identify patients who are not yet vaccinated, but are recommended for influenza vaccination - while in consultation
  • flag patients who are eligible for NIP funded influenza vaccines
  • general reports for monitoring influenza vaccine uptake in your practice

CAT reports to manage and track influenza vaccinations

PENCS Flu

Recipes for Influenza Vaccinations

Pen CS has a range of recipes available to assist you to find particular patients relevant for the flu vaccine.

PIP QI recipes:

Recalling patients for influenza vaccinations

Send efficient and effective patient recalls in bulk directly through CAT to your patients for influenza vaccines. Find out more.

Webinar: Managing influenza and SARS-CoV-2 in winter 2022

Watch the NCIRS webinar recording of webinar to find out what you need to know to be prepared for influenza and COVID-19 vaccination in 2022.This webinar was recorded 5 April 2022, and chaired by Professor Kristine Macartney. 

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.

Details: Thursday 14 April  2022, 11:30am (AEDT) | Click link to join

Immunisation news 

Catch up on previous Immunisation Weekly Updates

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