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In this issue:

  • Zostavax® GP Decision Aid
  • Rotarix® vaccine replaces RotaTeq® vaccine
  • Immunisation and pregnancy – who, what, when and why?
  • Want to promote the free Meningococcal vaccine? Here’s how
  • Recommended needles for vaccination
  • Report adverse events following immunisation
  • GET THE FACTS – the childhood immunisation education campaign

Zostavax® GP Decision Aid

Man's back with shingle soresConfidently identify patients who may be contra-indicated for shingles vaccine by using the Zostavax® GP Decision Aid.

Zostavax® contains live attenuated varicella-zoster virus, containing 14 times more virus than the childhood varicella vaccine. Inadvertent administration to immunocompromised people is associated with a risk of disseminated disease from the vaccine virus.

Remember to target the age eligible 70 to 79 year old age cohort for Zostavax®. Check vaccine records first to confirm that the patient has not already had a dose. All vaccine doses should be reported to the Australian Immunisation Register.

The Zostavax® GP Decision Aid identifies patients who may be contra-indicated for shingles vaccine.

The Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre also provides a range of other resources about shingles.

Rotarix® vaccine

Rotarix packagingRotarix® vaccine is now replacing RotaTeq® vaccine. Only 2 doses of Rotarix® vaccine are required at 2 months (from 6 weeks) and 4 months of age.

During the brand switch period, some infants may potentially receive fewer rotavirus doses than routinely scheduled when using the RotaTeq® brand. The specific recommendations will vary depending on the age of the child, rotavirus vaccination history and the vaccine brand in the fridge.

For information related to the use of Rotarix®, and for additional support materials (about Rotarix® and the transition from RotaTeq® to Rotarix®), please contact GSK on (03) 9413 7665.

Read how to use rotavirus vaccines during the brand switch period.

Immunisation and pregnancy

Woman holding her pregnant bellyWomen recommended vaccines by a health provider are 10 times as likely to be immunised compared to those who are not.

Women are more willing to get vaccinated if it is available at the same time as an antenatal visit.

More than 90% of pregnant women who are immunised report doing so to protect their baby. Framing the benefits of influenza and pertussis vaccination to focus on the baby’s protection is important.

Evidence supports the safety of antenatal vaccination for the foetus.

Find out more about immunisations recommended in pregnancy by Kerrie Wiley, Annette Regan, and Peter McIntyre 5 min read Aust Prescr 2017;40:122-4.  


Want to promote the free Meningococcal vaccine? Here’s how

Free meningococcal vaccine posterImmunisation providers are invited to use and adapt tools in an online toolkit designed to promote the meningococcal vaccine free to 15-19 year olds until 31 December 2017.

The kit contains images and suggested text for social media posts, posters that can be downloaded and printed or ordered online and templates for articles.

Download and print the A4 poster.

Use these tools to encourage young people to see you for their free meningococcal vaccine.

Recommended needles for vaccination

Needles and cotton swabs in a dishStudies have demonstrated that, for most vaccines, local adverse events are minimised and immunogenicity is enhanced by ensuring vaccine is into the muscle and not into the subcutaneous layer.

However, some vaccines (e.g. inactivated poliomyelitis and varicella vaccines) are only registered for SC administration.

Review Table 2.2.2: Recommended needle size, length and angle for administering vaccines in The Australian immunisation handbook.

Review Table 2.2.1: Route of administration for vaccines used in Australia in The Australian immunisation handbook.

Report all adverse events following immunisation

Safevic posterAn adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) is an unwanted or unexpected event following the administration of a vaccine(s). AEFIs may be caused by a vaccine(s) or may occur by coincidence (that is, the event would have occurred regardless of vaccination).

AEFIs also include conditions that may occur following the incorrect handling or administration of a vaccine.

Report all adverse events following immunisation.

To receive expert advice, report AEFIs via the SAEFVIC website 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

GET THE FACTS – the childhood immunisation education campaign

Young girl smiling - campaign posterThe Australian Government announced $5.5 million over three years for the measure - Supporting No Jab No Pay – improving awareness and uptake of immunisation.

This measure introduces a consumer childhood immunisation education campaign to support expectant parents and those with children aged 0–5 years in their decision making about childhood vaccinations.

The ’Get the facts about immunisation’ campaign uses a range of materials to engage with parents and carers, childcare workers and health care professionals about the importance of childhood vaccination. View resources.



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