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In this issue:

  • 2020 seasonal influenza vaccine eligibility
  • Pneumovax 23 recommendation for adults
  • Zostavax vaccine for 70 to 79 years of age
  • Fever, a common side effect of Bexsero vaccine in infants and toddlers
  • Cold chain tips for mobile or outreach vaccination
  • Finding it hard to know where to start for vaccine catch-up? 

2020 seasonal influenza vaccine eligibility

People eligible for free influenza vaccine:

  • Children aged 6 months to < 5 years
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged from 6 months and over
  • Adults aged ≥65 years
  • People aged ≥6 months who have certain medical conditions which increase the risk of influenza disease complications; for example, severe asthma, lung or heart disease, low immunity or diabetes
  • Pregnant women (during any stage of pregnancy).

All vaccine brands are quadrivalent formulations

Find out the composition of 2020 southern hemisphere influenza virus vaccines


Pneumovax 23 vaccine recommendation for adults

Pneumovax 23 vaccine is provided free on the National Immunisation Program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and for non-Indigenous people aged 65 years. 

The age eligibility, brand and doses depend on whether the adult is healthy, in the increased risk or highest risk category for pneumococcal disease.

Vaccine doses should be reported to the Australian Immunisation Register.

Use this easy to read table to identify what vaccine(s) to give a healthy or medically at-risk adult and to know if they are recommended further doses.


Zostavax vaccine for 70 to 79 years of age

After receiving the Zostavax vaccine, the following reactions may rarely occur but they need immediate medical attention:

  • Vesicular (varicella) - like rash within 3-4 weeks of vaccine administration; may be associated with being unwell/fever.

Report this reaction to SAEFVIC.

Zostavax is a live attenuated varicella-zoster virus vaccine, containing 14 times more virus than the childhood varicella vaccine. 

Inadvertent administration to an immunocompromised person is associated with a risk of disseminated disease from the vaccine virus. 

Vaccine doses should be reported to the Australian Immunisation Register. 

Prior to immunisation, and in conjunction with the pre-immunisation checklist, the Zostavax GP Decision Aid should be completed to ensure patient safety.


Fever, a common side effect of Bexsero vaccine in infants and toddlers

The Product Information, RCH and Monash Immunisation services recommend parents use paracetamol with every dose of Bexsero given to children aged under 4-years, to reduce the likelihood and severity of fever that may occur after immunisation.

The first dose of paracetamol (15 mg/kg per dose) should be given in the 30 minutes before vaccination, or as soon as possible after immunisation, even if children do not have a fever. This should be followed by 2 more doses of paracetamol given 4 to 6 hours apart.

Vaccine doses should be reported to the Australian Immunisation Register.

Meningococcal B vaccine is recommended for all people aged from 6 weeks to 19 years and people in special risk groups. Read the vaccine recommendations in the Australian Immunisation Handbook.

For more information read the Meningococcal disease and vaccines information on the Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre.


Cold chain tips for mobile or outreach vaccination

Use a solid-walled insulated cooler, or esky with a tightly fitting lid, or a vaccine-specific soft-walled cooler.

Use enough ice/gel packs to maintain +2°C and +8°C range for the period.

Protect vaccines with bubble wrap from contact with ice/gel packs.

Document and reset the min/max thermometer after each reading:

  • Initially when the min/max thermometer is put in the cooler
  • 15 minutely for 2 hours
  • hourly thereafter provided the temperature is stable.
Read the National vaccine storage guidelines, Appendix 7 and 8 - Preparation and 'Checklist' for outreach immunisation.

Finding it hard to know where to start for vaccine catch-up?

When planning a catch-up schedule use the resources to choose the correct antigens and vaccine brands for the person's age.

Review the Australian Immunisation Register to see what has already been administered to an individual.

For children under 10 years of age, use the Immunisation Calculator to plan vaccine catch-up.

For children aged 10 years and older, use the Victorian immunisation catch-up guideline.

Which diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis containing vaccine will I use?

Which MMR containing vaccine will I use?

Catch-up for missed doses of HPV vaccine.


Links

Clinical Vaccinology Update - Wednesday 15th April at Spot Theatre, Melbourne University.

‘Get the Facts’ – launch of the 2020 Childhood Immunisation Education Campaign. Download posters, brochures and videos from the Childhood Immunisation Education Campaign website. To find out more, visit the campaign website.

The burden of vaccine preventable diseases in Australia study, found the rate of vaccine preventable burden decreased by 31% between 2005 and 2015. The decrease was driven by falls for diseases that have had vaccines added to, or vaccine eligibility extended on, the NIP schedule during the past 20 years, such as HPV, pneumococcal disease and rotavirus.

Update your knowledge about Hepatitis B and C at the 2020 workshops offered by St Vincent’s hospital. Free education is also available in your workplace. Suitable for a range of health professionals.

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