Immunisation updates and advice
for primary health care providers.

Australians are being urged to get their flu vaccination early this year to avoid the 'dangerous double-up' of influenza and coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Read below and visit our COVID-19 hub for more information.

Latest news

Enhancing data quality of vaccination encounters recorded in practice software and on AIR: Tips and tricks

This resource 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:

  Fact sheet

National Immunisation Program changes from 1 July 2020

From 1 July 2020 there will be changes to the immunisation schedule 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.
  • Pneumococcal vaccination schedule will change 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 Department of Health website for more information.

DHHS advice to immunisation providers 2 June 2020

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services provided the following advice to immunisation providers on 2 June 2020:

To date, over 2.32 million doses of Government funded influenza vaccine have been distributed to Victorian Providers.

Vaccine delivery times are now back to normal.

Who is eligible for funded vaccine under the National Immunisation Program (NIP)?

  • Children aged six months to less than five years
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged six months and older
  • Pregnant women (at any stage of pregnancy)
  • People aged 65 years and older
  • People aged six months and older with medical conditions putting them at increased risk of severe influenza and its complications

All people eligible under the NIP are funded for 1 dose of influenza vaccine each season. Eligible children 6 months to less than 9 years receiving influenza vaccine for the first time are funded for 2 doses of influenza vaccine. At no time should a cost be incurred to those eligible for the vaccine. A service or consult fee may be charged.

Who is eligible under the state funded program?

  • Public Hospital Health Care Workers - public hospitals run and manage this program.

Summary of Government funded influenza vaccine availability

Program   Brands funded for this program   Current vaccine stock status   Additional information  
6 months to less than 5 years   Vaxigrip Tetra®

  

Limited Fluarix-Tetra and FluQuadri are also licensed from 6 months of age and can be administered if Vaxigrip Tetra is not available
At-risk program – 5 years to less than 65 years   Afluria Quad®
Fluarix-Tetra®
FluQuadri®
Limited Vaxigrip Tetra is also licensed from 6 months of age and can be administered if other brands are not available  
65 years and over Fluad Quad® NOT AVAILABLE Stock exhausted. Other influenza vaccine brands may be used for 65 years and over, please see below.
Public Hospital Health Care Worker  Afluria Quad®
FluQuadri®
Low

Fluad Quad

Supplies of Fluad Quad, influenza vaccine allocated for persons aged 65 years and over has now been exhausted. 1.06 million doses have been distributed for people aged 65 years and over in Victoria. This represents doses available for over 100% of this cohort.

The QIV Fluad Quad (Seqirus) contains an adjuvant and is recommended for people 65 years of age and older over other available QIVs.

If Fluad Quad is unavailable in your clinic and a person is unable to access a dose elsewhere, vaccination with another funded QIV is preferable to providing no vaccination. In this case, Fluad Quad does not subsequently need to be provided.

Source: 2020 National Immunisation Program influenza vaccines – reference guide for vaccination providers

Avoid vaccine error administration

Victoria has the highest reporting on the Australian Immunisation register (AIR) for Afluria Quad administered to children under 5 years of age in Australia. Afluria Quad can only be administered to people 5 years and older.

Fluad Quad is only registered for use by the TGA in Australia for persons 65 years of age and above. Do not use Fluad Quad in your patients who do not meet the correct age eligibility criteria.

Prior to administration:

  • Check the age of the child
  • Check you have the correct brand for age
  • Do not administer Afluria Quad under 5 years of age
  • Notify the vaccine brand accurately to the AIR 

Ordering processes

  • When ordering more influenza vaccine please count and record all influenza brands currently in the fridge on your order form even if you are not ordering for that age group.
  • Consider the number of eligible patients in your practice and do not over order vaccine. Check your fridge and consider all stock before placing your order for Government funded vaccines.
  • Vaccine order forms should be submitted to orders@onelink.com.au Email is the preferred method. Always use the most current vaccine order form available on the health.vic website.
  • Please do not resubmit orders
  • If there is an outstanding influenza order for your service another order will not be accepted by Onelink until your existing order has been delivered
  • Do not book appointments unless you have vaccine available  

Pneumovax 23 – Vaccine shortage 

There is currently a national shortage of Government Funded Pneumovax 23® vaccine. Please be aware that orders may not be filled at this time and will not be put on back order. Please continue to request Pneumovax 23® on your order form and the vaccine will be sent if available.

Prior to the administration:

  1. Check age eligibility: Victorian Immunisation Schedule April 2020
  2. Check immunisation history and the Australian Immunisation Register

Helpful resource: Quick guide table for planning pneumococcal vaccination in adults

More Information 

Visit our website or email immunisation@dhhs.vic.gov.au

For guidance and service delivery models for providing immunisation services visit,

See Advice for clinicians, Vaccination and medications on the DHHS website.

As an immunisation provider you are obligated to upload all vaccines administered to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).

Thank you for your cooperation with the management of the 2020 NIP and State Immunisation Program.

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Immunisation Unit | Health Protection Branch
Regulation, Health Protection and Emergency Management Division
Department of Health and Human Services

DHHS recommendations for influenza vaccination

With COVID-19 spreading across Australia, this year it is more important than ever to ensure that patients receive the seasonal influenza vaccination. Influenza vaccination should be given as soon as possible. The regular influenza season may coincide with the peak of the current COVID-19 pandemic, potentially placing additional burden on the Australian health system.

  • Influenza vaccine distribution to immunisation providers has commenced. Adjuvanted influenza vaccines are available for people aged 65 years and over.
  • From the 1st of May, the flu vaccine will be mandatory for people wanting to visit an aged care facility (including aged care workers).
  • Claims that influenza vaccination may increase the risk of coronavirus infection have been circulating on social media. There is no convincing evidence to support these claims.
  • To ensure compliance with physical distancing measures, DHHS has recommended that systems are implemented to regulate the number of people entering your practice or immunisation venue.
  • Vaccines should not be administered to people sitting in vehicles. Clients must not wait in their vehicle post vaccination. This is in case of an immediate adverse event following vaccination.
  • For guidance and service delivery models for providing immunisation services, please see our Victorian immunisation services factsheet (Word)

Visit the DHHS 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.

  Read the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation's Guiding principles for maintaining immunisation services during the COVID-19 pandemic

Observation after vaccination in the context of minimising risk of exposure to COVID-19

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) have 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.

Adult vaccination update webinar

This NWMPHN webinar was presented by Dr Peter Eizenberg on 16 April 2020 and includes a coronavirus update, recommendations for the 2020 influenza season and a review of the 2019 season. It also covers measles, pneumococcal disease, hepatitis B, reporting requirements and more.

Australian Immunisation Handbook is now available as a mobile app

The Australian Immunisation Handbook is now available as a mobile application.

All content available from the Commonwealth Department of Health Australian Immunisation Handbook website is accessible on mobile devices (such as smart phones or tablets).

This enables access to the Australian Immunisation Handbook content even when there is no access to the Internet.

Details and links to download the App are available on the Department of Health Australian Immunisation Handbook website.

About immunisation

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.

We support the Commonwealth Department of Health’s National Immunisation Program and the Victorian Government’s immunisation program.

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

Quick links

Resources

Influenza

For vaccine hesitant patients

Webinars

Contacts

For immunisation support from North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network please contact our Primary Health Care Improvement team on 03 9347 1188 or email primarycare@nwmphn.org.au

For clinical advice please contact the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services Immunisation Section on 1300 882 008 or email immunisation@dhhs.vic.gov.au