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In this issue:

  • 2021 influenza vaccine program
  • Influenza vaccine active vaccine safety surveillance data now available
  • Garden pruning time! Tetanus shots up to date?
  • Free Prevenar 13 and Pneumovax 23 for Indigenous adults
  • Victoria’s childhood vaccine coverage rates for the last quarter
  • Immunisation anaphylaxis management
  • Impact evaluation of Australia’s HPV vaccine program 

2021 influenza vaccine program

Eligible cohorts for free influenza vaccine:

  • children aged from 6 months to less than 5 years;
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged from 6 months;
  • pregnant women (at any stage of pregnancy) and up until the expiry date on the vaccine;  
  • adults aged 65 years and over;  
  • persons aged from 6 months who have certain medical conditions such as severe asthma, lung or heart disease, low immunity or diabetes which increase the risk of influenza disease complications.

Vaccine brands supplied and age restrictions:

Ages 6 months to less than 5 years:

  • Vaxigrip Tetra® (Sanofi Pasteur) 
  • Fluarix® Tetra (GSK) 

Ages 5 years to less than 65 years:

  • Vaxigrip Tetra® (Sanofi Pasteur) 
  • Fluarix® Tetra (GSK)
  • Afluria® Quad (Seqirus)

Ages 65 years and older:

  • Fluad® Quad (Seqirus)

Administer 0.5ml dose of influenza vaccine for all ages.

Notify doses to the Australian Immunisation Register.

COVID-19 vaccination – ATAGI advice on influenza and COVID-19 vaccines

Share this web link with your hesitant families for parent-friendly influenza vaccination resources from Sharing Knowledge about Immunisation (SKAI).

Influenza vaccine active vaccine safety surveillance data now available

View the latest easy to read data on influenza vaccine safety monitoring for the 2021 brands Vaxigrip Tetra®, Fluarix Tetra®, Afluria® Quad and Fluad® Quad.

The data reports on adverse events following vaccination and is available for all ages and for pregnant women.

Patients want information about influenza vaccine? Refer to the Influenza vaccines for Australians fact sheet by the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance

Garden pruning time! Tetanus shots up to date?

Garden pruning time is a reminder to consider that not all the community may be protected against tetanus.

Recently a 75-year-old overseas born lady was diagnosed with tetanus. After sustaining an injury in the garden, she underwent an emergency tracheostomy while in theatre, was admitted to ICU and remained intubated for 2 weeks. Her vaccination status was unknown.

Once well, the patient reported she normally walked bare foot in her garden and had a wound on her left heel for 2-3 weeks prior to her admission.  

The Tetanus chapter in the Australian Immunisation handbook describes tetanus-prone wound management.

Check the recommended intervals between doses when giving dTpa or dT in a catch-up schedule for people ≥10 years of age.

Check the Victorian immunisation catch-up guidelines for people aged 10 years and older who have no documented history of vaccination.

Free Prevenar 13 and Pneumovax 23 for Indigenous adults

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults aged from 50 years should receive 1 dose of Prevenar 13 from age 50 years then 2 lifetime doses of Pneumovax 23.

The first Pneumovax 23 dose is given 12 months after the Prevenar 13 dose then a second Pneumovax 23 dose is given a minimum interval of 5-years later.

Report vaccine doses administered to the Australian Immunisation Register.

The PneumoSmart Tool may assist to calculate the appropriate pneumococcal vaccination of adults and children

Victoria’s quarterly childhood vaccine coverage rates now online 

A new addition to the Victorian immunisation web site is Victoria’s quarterly Australian Immunisation Register childhood coverage rates. View the most recent data for ages measured at 1, 2 and 5 years and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Adolescent vaccine coverage at 17 years is also displayed. 

Let’s work together to improve the coverage rates especially for early childhood and adolescents.

The Australian Immunisation handbook has information to assist with planning vaccine catch up for all ages with easy to read tables recommending minimum intervals between vaccine doses.

Check you are using the correct vaccine brand for the age of the person being vaccinated – download and display resources.

Immunisation anaphylaxis management

If signs and symptoms suggest anaphylaxis, take the following steps:

  1. Lay the patient flat; do not stand or walk them. If breathing is difficult, allow to sit (if able).
  2. Administer adrenaline via intramuscular injection preferably into lateral thigh. There are no contraindications for the use of intramuscular adrenaline in the setting of anaphylaxis.

Did you know a fatality can occur within minutes if a patient stands, walks or suddenly sits down. Patients must NOT walk or stand, even if they appear to have recovered from their anaphylaxis. A wheelchair, stretcher or trolley bed should be used to transfer the patient to the ambulance.

Refresh your knowledge for managing an anaphylactic event post vaccination from the Australian Immunisation Handbook guidelines.

Guidance for differentiating anaphylaxis from acute stress response such as vagal reaction, anxiety and vocal cord dysfunction.

Impact evaluation of Australia’s HPV vaccine program

The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance evaluation of the impact of the national HPV vaccination program has found that there has been a substantial reduction in the burden of HPV-related disease since the introduction of the vaccine in Australia. 

It also makes a range of recommendations, which may be of interest to immunisation providers interested in enhancing the program and further improving vaccine coverage and equity.

Read the full report.

More information

Surveillance of adverse events following immunisation in Australia annual report, 2019 summarises national spontaneous surveillance data for adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) reported to the TGA and trends in AEFI reporting over the 20-year period 1 January 2000 – 31 December 2019. The data reported are consistent with an overall high level of safety for vaccines used in Australia when administered according to the clinical recommendations contained within the Australian Immunisation Handbook.

Meningococcal B vaccination – an infographic explaining who and why a person is eligible for meningococcal B vaccine plus side effects and paracetamol guidance – an NCIRS resource guide for healthcare providers.

Order online free immunisation resources including pre and post vaccination advice for patients, pamphlets, posters, cards, stickers and magnets.

17th National Immunisation Conference theme is Immunisation in the COVID pandemic era – Virtual Conference (Date: Tuesday 29 June to Thursday 1 July 2021)

Immunisation Coalition 5th Adult Immunisation Forum (Date: Monday 28 June 2021 – free event)


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