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Immunisation newsletter – June 2017

In this issue:

  • Rotarix vaccine replaces RotaTeq vaccine from 1 July 2017
  • Meningococcal A,C,W,Y secondary school vaccine program
  • Free catch-up period extended for under 20 years, refugees and humanitarian entrants
  • Anaphylaxis following vaccination
  • VaxOnTime app updated
  • Hepatitis B vaccine birth-dose

Rotarix® vaccine replaces RotaTeq® vaccine from 1 July 2017

Rotarix packagingFollowing a recent Commonwealth government tendering process, Rotarix® vaccine is to replace RotaTeq® vaccine from 1 July 2017 across Australia.

The oral rotavirus vaccine Rotarix®, is a 2-dose schedule at 2 months (from 6 weeks) and 4 months of age. This means the oral rotavirus vaccine will no longer be required at the 6 month old schedule point.

Rotarix® age restrictions apply. The 1st dose must be administered prior to 15 weeks of age and the 2nd dose prior to 25 weeks of age.

Reduce stock of RotaTeq® vaccine in preparation for switching to Rotarix® vaccine. When ordering rotavirus vaccine, Rotarix® vaccine will be delivered later in June. It is a 2 dose course so less stock is needed.

Read the ATAGI Clinical advice for information (and a document) on how to use rotavirus vaccines during the brand switch period - see Table 1 of the document.

Be familiar with potential scenarios and responses during RotaTeq® to Rotarix® switch period - see Table 2 in the document.

Read the evidence for vaccine effectiveness and safety of mixed or reduced dose schedules.


Meningococcal A,C,W,Y secondary school vaccine program

Menactra packagingThe Meningococcal A,C,W,Y secondary school vaccine program targets adolescents in Years 10, 11 and 12 or age equivalent 15 to 19 years.

The Meningococcal A,C,W,Y vaccine used is Menactra®. Vaccine is presented in a liquid form in a single dose vial. It is for intramuscular injection.

All immunisation providers of 15 to 19 year olds, may order Menactra®.

The vaccine program ceases 31 December 2017.

Read and download the Frequently Asked Questions for young people and parents/guardians about the free meningococcal vaccine for Years 10, 11, & 12 of secondary school.

Read the invasive meningococcal disease national surveillance report with a focus on meningococcal serogroup W.

Order the Menactra vaccine for age eligible adolescents.

Read the most current information about meningococcal disease and vaccination for Australians.


Free catch-up period extended for under 20 years, refugees and humanitarian entrants

Teenagers in casual clothes leaning in front of a brick wallOver the next 4 years the Commonwealth government is funding vaccinations for all children under 20 years who missed scheduled vaccines.

Free catch-up vaccinations will also be available to adult refugees and humanitarian entrants.

Victoria is investing $2.3 million to improve immunisation coverage and service delivery for refugees. Projects trialling immunisation service models will identify refugees vaccine catch-up needs, monitor vaccine records and ensure vaccine schedules are completed.

Read information for immunisation providers, settlement support workers, and newly arriving community members on how to access free vaccines and immunisation services in Victoria.


Anaphylaxis following vaccination

Anaphylaxis following routine vaccination is very rare, but can be fatal. All immunisation service providers must be able to recognise all the symptoms and signs of anaphylaxis and distinguish between anaphylaxis, convulsions and fainting. The use of 1:1000 adrenaline is the first line of treatment for anaphylaxis.

Severe anaphylactic reactions usually have a rapid onset; life-threatening adverse events are most likely to begin within 15 minutes of vaccination.

Know how to respond appropriately to this event.


VaxOnTime app updated

VaxOnTime-app logoThe VaxOnTime app has been enhanced to improve the accuracy of the vaccine reminders and to include an annual reminder for the influenza vaccine for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

VaxOnTime has been developed by the Victorian Department of Health & Human Services. The free app is available on iOS, Android and Windows mobile phones.

Visit VaxOnTime.


Hepatitis B vaccine birth-dose 

Parents with newborn twins in hospital cribThe hepatitis B vaccine birth-dose commenced May 2000 on the National Immunisation Program. The vaccine is recommended for all newborns preferably within 24 hours of birth. If the newborn’s condition is unstable, the dose should be administered within 7 days. There is no catch-up for a missed birth-dose.

Hepatitis B vaccine prevents vertical transmission from a carrier mother and horizontal transmission in the first months of life from a carrier among household or other close contacts.

Review the Victorian annual hepatitis B birth-dose vaccine coverage data, 2009 to 2014.


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