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In this issue:

  • Keep offering Zostavax to those aged 70 to 79 years
  • Zostavax and MMR-II vaccines must be reconstituted
  • Vaccine error alert – administration of expired vaccine
  • AIR data shows Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants and children are not receiving the free meningococcal B vaccine Bexsero
  • Routine childhood vaccination rate in Victoria unaffected by COVID-19
  • Meningococcal ABCWY vaccine study
  • Onelink Online - Online vaccine ordering is here

Keep offering Zostavax to those aged 70 to 79 years

Actively target the 70 to 79-year-old age cohort for Zostavax. Check vaccine records (including the AIR) to confirm that the patient has not already had a dose and that they do not have an immunocompromising condition. 

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

Report vaccine doses to the Australian Immunisation Register.

Always use the Australian Immunisation Handbook Zostavax screening tool as it contains specific guidance about contraindications to administration of Zostavax in patients who are immunocompromised or have medical conditions that place them at risk of immunocompromise. 

Use the Australian Immunisation Handbook recommendations for the use of zoster vaccine in people on immunosuppressive therapy.

NCIRS Zoster vaccine fact sheet, FAQs and screening form for contraindications can assist with your patient’s clinical scenario.


Zostavax and MMR-II vaccines must be reconstituted 

A reminder that Zostavax and MMR-II vaccine brands are currently supplied as a vial of diluent and a vial of lyophilised vaccine. 

Only use the diluent supplied and after drawing up the diluent, inject all the diluent into the vaccine vial. 

Change the needle and inject the total volume of reconstituted vaccine as soon as possible after reconstitution.

Check you are using the correct varicella containing vaccines.

Check you are using the correct MMR containing vaccines.


Vaccine error alert – administration of expired vaccine

A commonly reported vaccine error has been the administration of expired vaccine. Routinely check the expiry date of a vaccine prior to its administration.

Reduce the chance of storing expired vaccine:

  • assign a staff member to be responsible (and a back-up to cover absence) to stocktake, monitor vaccine expiry dates, flag when close to expiry and discard expired vaccine promptly
  • develop an inventory which includes the date, numbers of vaccines received, vaccine type, batch number and expiry date 
  • consider how many children, adolescents and adults attend for immunisation each month and calculate ordering requirements for one month’s use plus a small buffer stock 
  • on receipt of vaccine, rotate stock so that vaccine with the shortest expiry date is at the front of the fridge for first use.

Read how to estimate a month’s vaccine stock to order and steps to follow when receiving a vaccine order.

Professional development - undertake the Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre e-learning module Vaccine errors: Prevention, management and open disclosure.

Know where to report a vaccine error to SAEFVIC, Victoria’s vaccine safety service.


Influenza vaccination protection in 2021 is still important

Despite low levels of influenza infection to date in 2021, experts hold valid concerns that once influenza starts to circulate, unvaccinated individuals of all ages will be disadvantaged by a lack of protection from the vaccine. 

Keep promoting and encouraging influenza vaccination to all eligible people. There is plenty of 2021 vaccine stock available to order.

NCIRS public health physician Dr Frank Beard provides insights on the importance of protecting ourselves, our families and patients through influenza vaccination


AIR data shows Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants and children are not receiving the free meningococcal B vaccine Bexsero

Actively promote and immunise with the Bexsero vaccine for:

  • Indigenous infants at 2 (from 6 weeks), 4 and 12 months of age.
  • Catch-up doses for Indigenous children aged less than 2 years. The number of catch-up doses required depends on the age of commencement.

Bexsero is the only vaccination that requires paracetamol use before vaccination because of the common side effect of fever following this vaccine. All children aged less than 2 years should receive a dose of paracetamol 30 minutes prior to the Bexsero dose or as soon as practicable after. This should be followed by 2 further doses at 6 hourly intervals regardless of the presence of fever.

A health worker is responsible to ensure that everyone receiving a service is asked the question “Are you (or is the person) of Aboriginal and/or Torres Islander origin?”

Report vaccine doses to the Australian Immunisation Register.

Review the Recommendations for immunisation of infants and children aged <2 years using meningococcal B vaccine.

Order and display – Meningococcal B vaccine poster for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Order and display – Vaccinate to protect your baby against meningococcal B – brochure for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


Routine childhood vaccination rate in Victoria unaffected by COVID-19

The COVID-19 epidemic “did not markedly affect vaccination rates for young children in Victoria, despite the longest and most restrictive response measures in Australia”, according to research comparing vaccination activity in Victoria in 2019 and 2020. Published by the Medical Journal of Australia. 


Meningococcal ABCWY vaccine study

The Vaccine and Immunisation Research Group (VIRGo) are inviting adolescents/young adults to take part in the Boost study, a clinical trial to assess the safety and immune response of an investigational MenABCWY vaccine. 

VIRGo are looking for healthy volunteers aged 15-25 years and who have received 1 dose of a meningitis vaccine (MenACWY) in the past 4-6 years. All visits will be in the volunteer’s home or in a study clinic. 

Find out more or contact VIRGo on phone 8344 9325.


Onelink Online - Online vaccine ordering is here

OneLink banner image 

Online vaccine ordering became available for Victorian immunisation providers in August 2021 through Onelink Online.

Login to place your order now.

If you do not have a login contact Onelink for assistance, phone 03 8588 1042 or email customerservice@onelink.com.au. Include your account name and number on any correspondence.

If you are accustomed to the EBOS Healthcare or Vital Medical Supplies websites, then your username and password is the same for OneLink website. Whilst the platforms are built on the same technology, the templates at OneLink website are controlled and set only by the Onelink team.

The online ordering functionality allows you to: 

  • Access user friendly, online templates that support a fast and simple ordering process.
  • View 12 months of ordering history and download PDFs of previous orders. 
  • Make informed decisions when ordering using the suggested order function.
  • View vaccine specific current alerts.
  • View who placed previous orders for your organisation. 
  • Receive email updates of how your order is tracking
We recommend using the following web browsers for Onelink Online: Chrome, Edge and Firefox.

Link to further information

Have a patient with needle phobia? MVEC has strategies to manage needle phobia and immunisation - information for individuals, care givers and healthcare providers

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