The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has provided advice about influenza and COVID-19 vaccines which aims to provide guidance for immunisation program coordinators and immunisation providers on the relative timing of scheduling and giving influenza vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines in 2021. The advice is available on the Department of Health website and will be updated as new information becomes available.
Immunisation updates and advice for primary health care providers.
Immunisation guidance is changing rapidly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit our COVID-19 vaccines page for more information related to the delivery of COVID-19 vaccinations.
ATAGI advice released regarding influenza and COVID-19 vaccines
IMPORTANT: influenza vaccine pre-allocation roll out information
The influenza vaccine pre-allocation roll out is changing for 2021.
Providers were asked to make sure they had access to Onelink to complete the DHHS survey before the end of January 2021 to avoid missing out.
Please read our email sent to immunisation providers on Wednesday, 16 December 2020 for more information.
We will provide more information as it becomes available.
New laws make vaccination reporting mandatory
From 1 March 2021, all vaccine providers will be required to report influenza vaccinations to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). Reporting of all COVID-19 vaccinations will be mandatory once vaccinations begin in Australia. All other National Immunisation Program vaccinations must be reported on from 1 July 2021.
This fact sheet provides information and advice about the importance of data quality when recording and transmitting vaccination encounters in practice software and on the Australian Immunisation Register.
This Services Australia user guide provides more information on accessing AIR using Provider Digital Access (PRODA).
Services Australia provides free AIR online training modules.
National Immunisation Program changes from 1 July 2020
Changes from 1 July 2020 to the immunisation schedule are designed to improve protection against meningococcal and pneumococcal disease.
The changes are being implemented following recommendations from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and other clinical experts.
The changes affecting clinicians in Victoria are:
- introduction of meningococcal B vaccination and changes to meningococcal ACWY vaccination
- changes to the pneumococcal vaccination schedule to reflect the current best clinical evidence in preventing pneumococcal disease in adults and in people with conditions that increase their risk of disease.
Visit the Australian Department of Health website for more information.
ATAGI Guiding Principles for maintaining immunisation services during COVID-19
Immunisation providers will need to adapt their procedures and practice to comply with measures in place, including physical distancing, to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. This is to ensure that immunisation services can continue to be conducted safely without exposing health care workers, vaccinees, their caregivers and the wider community to undue risk.
Immunisation protects individuals and the community from vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs). If scheduled vaccine doses are missed or delayed, or overall vaccination coverage rates are diminished, there is a risk of resurgence of some well-controlled VPDs or outbreaks of some VPDs, such as measles, during and/or after the COVID-19 pandemic. This will put further strain on the health care system.
Importantly, preventing influenza through vaccination is essential in reducing strain on the health care system.
Observation after vaccination in the context of minimising risk of exposure to COVID-19
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has released clinical advice on the duration of observation after vaccination in the context of minimising risk of exposure to COVID-19 at health care facilities.
In the current context of increasing risk of community-transmitted COVID-19 disease, the risk of exposure to potentially infected patients in medical practices/immunisation clinics may be increased. If this risk cannot be completely controlled in the clinic setting, the benefit of minimising the post-vaccination observation period to reduce COVID-19 exposure risk may outweigh the small risk of reduced detection of immediate rare post-vaccination adverse events at the clinic.
This advice is available on the Australian Government Department of Health website.
Immunisation is a safe and effective way of protecting people against harmful diseases. We can help protect individuals, vulnerable populations and the wider community by enabling and promoting vaccination against preventable diseases.
How we can help
We support primary health care providers to increase immunisation rates by providing:
- local clinical and referral information on HealthPathways Melbourne
- advice on schedule updates and changes to immunisation programs
- education sessions and webinars on immunisation
- support with reporting to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR)
- assistance to maintain high standards of cold-chain management in accordance with the National Guidelines to ensure vaccine efficacy
- mobile influenza services for hard-to-reach populations
- increased public awareness for immunisation through our Immunise Melbourne campaigns.
Useful apps for GPs
- Vicvax: Quick view of the Victorian immunisation schedule for all ages and links to special risk groups. Currently under review.
- Australian Immunisation Handbook: Now available for iOS and Android.
- HealthPathways Melbourne: Immunisation
- Victorian Government Department of Health and Human Services Immunisation Program
- Australian Government Department of Health Immunisation Information
- Australian Immunisation Handbook
- Australian Immunisation Handbook – Catch up calculator
- Melbourne Vaccination Education Centre
- Australian Immunisation Register for Health Professionals
- National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance
For immunisation support from us, please contact our Primary Health Care Improvement team on 03 9347 1188 or email email@example.com
For clinical advice, please contact the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services Immunisation Section on 1300 882 008 or email firstname.lastname@example.org