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.
The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services provided the following advice to immunisation providers on 16 April 2020:
Pressure on the vaccine distribution system is very high with National Immunisation Program (NIP) vaccines in great demand.
To date, 1.5 million doses of Government funded influenza vaccine have been distributed to Victorian Providers.
COVID-19 has meant OneLink warehouse staff must meet physical distancing requirements. As a result, there are additional delays in receiving vaccine orders. This is unavoidable and we appreciate your understanding and patience at this difficult time.
Influenza Program 2020
Who is eligible under the 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
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®||Available - Monitored||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®
|Available - Monitored||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®||Limit 50 doses per order, per account||Please see information below.|
|Public Hospital Health Care Worker||Afluria Quad®
Avoid vaccine error administration
Afluria Quad can only be administered to those medically at risk aged 5 years to less than 65 years.
- Consider all stock before placing your order for government funded vaccines. This will limit the number of deliveries and ensure that you receive your vaccine as soon as possible (a maximum of one order per week).
- 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.
- If you have the facilities to submit you order via email please do so, this is the preferred method. You should then receive automated acknowledgement and can be confident that your order has been received.
- Vaccine order forms should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. Always use the most current vaccine order form – order forms are available on the health.vic website.
- Always allow a minimum of five working days for vaccine delivery during flu season.
- Please do not resubmit orders.
Important points to remember
- To ensure continuity of stock supply, offer government funded vaccine to eligible groups only (see above)
- Use the brand funded for the age range above. This will maximise vaccine availability throughout the season
- Consider the number of eligible patients in your practice and do not over order vaccine
- Do not book appointments unless you have vaccine available
- Afluria Quad can only be administered to those medically at risk aged 5 to less than 65 years.
Fluad Quad – Limited ordering
Although Victoria have predicted a vaccine uptake of 100 per cent for the over 65 group, we have seen an unprecedented early demand for vaccine this year. Vaccines ordered by providers for this group have already exhausted over 90 per cent of our forecasted supply.
To maintain continuity of stock supply throughout the remainder of this flu season we are limiting orders of Fluad Quad to 50 doses per order, per account for all providers. Orders for other age groups are also being monitored and your order may be adjusted.
Pneumovax 23 – Vaccine shortage
Please note that currently there are limited supplies of the Government Funded Pneumovax 23® vaccine. Please consider your ordering requirements when placing vaccine orders for Government funded vaccines.
Prior to the administration:
- Check age eligibility: Victorian Immunisation Schedule April 2020
- Check immunisation history and the Australian Immunisation Register.
Helpful resource: Quick guide table for planning pneumococcal vaccination in adults
For guidance and service delivery models for providing immunisation services visit, See Advice for clinicians, vaccination and medications on the DHHS website.
Thank you for your cooperation with the management of the 2020 NIP and State Immunisation Program
Immunisation Unit | Health Protection Branch
Regulation, Health Protection and Emergency Management Division
Department of Health and Human Services
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Available for iOS and Android.
- 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
- Melbourne Vaccination Education Centre
- Australian Immunisation Register for Health Professionals
- National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance
- Influenza campaign resources
- Influenza campaign resources in langauges other than English
- Victorian flu campaign 2020: Multicultural toolkit
- Influenza vaccination during COVID-19: FAQs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
For vaccine hesitant patients
- Australian Government Department of Health: Get the facts about immunisation
- Australian Government Department of Health: Questions about vaccination
- SKAI project: Sharing knowledge about immunisation from NCIRS
- SKAI project: Talking about immunisation
- Better Health Channel: Immunity for community
- MVEC: MMR vaccine and autism
For immunisation support from North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network 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