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In this issue:

  • Take the survey - the impact of COVID-19 on your immunisation service
  • How to plan an immunisation catch-up schedule
  • Composition of the influenza virus vaccines for 2021
  • Vaccine cold chain management on re-opening after the holiday
  • New eLearning packages – Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre (MVEC)
  • Report accurately to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR)
  • Government Funded Influenza Vaccine 2021 - Online Provider Survey
  • Links to further information

Take the survey - the impact of COVID-19 on your immunisation service

The Commonwealth Department of Health has contracted Monash University to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on the immunisation services. The objective is to understand how COVID-19 impacted immunisation providers capacity to vaccinate and any changes that have been implemented to maintain coverage. The survey also addresses influenza vaccine demand and workforce issues due to COVID-19.

The survey is open until 31 January 2021, information is confidential and anonymous and takes about 10 minutes to complete.


How to plan an immunisation catch-up schedule

Always build an immunisation catch-up schedule based on the previous documented doses administered. Do not start the routine schedule again, regardless of the interval since the last dose. Count previous doses as part of the schedule.

If more than 1 vaccine is overdue, give 1 dose of each due or overdue vaccine at the first catch-up visit. Do not defer due or overdue vaccines.

Multiple vaccine injections can be given at the same time.

People can receive multiple live parenteral vaccines either at the same time or at minimum 4 weeks apart.

Use the National Immunisation Catch-up Calculator for children prior to their 10th birthday if vaccine doses are delayed or missed to plan a catch-up schedule.

Use the Victorian immunisation catch-up guidelines for people aged 10 years and older to plan a catch-up schedule.


Composition of the influenza virus vaccines for 2021

The Australian Influenza Vaccine Committee’s influenza vaccine recommendation in 2021 differs from last year's recommendation with the inclusion of two new strains for the A (H1N1)-like and A (H3N2)-like viruses. It recommended the following viruses be included in the egg-based quadrivalent influenza vaccines for the 2021 Southern Hemisphere influenza season:

  • A/Victoria/2570/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • A/Hong Kong/2671/2019 (H3N2)-like virus;
  • B/Washington/02/2019-like (B/Victoria lineage) virus;
  • B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (B/Yamagata lineage) virus.

Egg allergic people are also recommended to receive influenza vaccination.


Vaccine cold chain management on re-opening after the holiday

Re-opening the clinic

  • Record the fridge min-max and current temperatures at the start of the first working day
  • Download the data logger
  • Has a vaccine breach occurred?
  • Is it a reportable breach?

Reporting a vaccine breach

  • Put a sign on the fridge Do not use or discard vaccines until further notice
  • Download, complete and email the cold chain breach form
  • Follow the advice and re-order if required only the quantity of vaccine for one month’s use each time.

Take the vaccine cold chain quiz and assess your knowledge of the correct storage and handling of vaccines.


New eLearning packages – Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre (MVEC)

MVEC has launched their eLearning packages.  

They provide an interactive overview of:

  • pre-vaccination processes
  • administration of vaccines
  • post-vaccination procedures
  • avoid shoulder injury related to vaccination
  • quiz to test learning.
Take the time to review the packages to provide best practice by consolidating technical skills.

Report accurately to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR)

Ensure consumers provide their name as recorded on their Medicare card when immunisation forms are completed so that:

  • AIR can match encounters to existing individuals on the AIR, for example "Alan” is provided but the first name recorded on Medicare is “Xiang Yu"
  • Duplicate data is not created in the AIR

Accurately report immunisation records for the vaccine codes of the vaccines administered, instead of vaccine codes with equivalent antigens. For example:

  • Report the combined MMR vaccine instead of separate generic measles, generic mumps and generic rubella
  • Report Infanrix-IPV instead of an Infanrix and an IPOL as separate vaccines.

Government Funded Influenza Vaccine 2021 - Online Provider Survey

All Onelink accounts should now have access to Onelink online to complete a survey. Only accounts who complete the survey will be considered for inclusion in the 2021 pre-allocation of influenza vaccine.

If you have not received login details for your account, email customerservice@onelink.com.au and include your account name and number.

Login to your Onelink vaccine account to ensure that you complete your survey by 31st January 2021.


Links

Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation – Read the preliminary advice on general principles to guide the prioritisation of target populations in a COVID-19 vaccination program in Australia

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has developed a dedicated COVID-19 vaccines resource page. This page will be regularly updated to keep consumers, health professionals and sponsors informed of the latest developments

A range of immunisation related fact sheets can be downloaded to assist understanding the different vaccine presentations, plan vaccine catch-up for 10 years and older, and tools for the vaccination procedure

Following a third report of fatal disseminated vaccine strain varicella-zoster virus infection following Zostavax administration, the Therapeutic Goods Administration is reminding health professionals that Zostavax should not be used in people with compromised immune function

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