ATAGI statement on revised recommendations on the use of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, 17 June 2021

ATAGI has revised the recommendations for COVID-19 vaccination within Australia.

Due to a higher risk and severity of thrombosis with thrombycytopenia syndrome (TTS) related to the use of COVID-19 AstraZeneca, Comirnaty™ is now the preferred COVID-19 vaccine for individuals aged 16-59 years. Due to the risk of severe outcomes related to COVID-19 disease for individuals aged 60 years and over, the benefits of vaccination in preventing disease outweighs the risk of developing TTS.

Individuals aged less than 60 years who have received their first dose of COVID-19 AstraZeneca without any serious adverse events (eg. anaphylaxis or TTS) should continue to receive their second dose.

For more information please refer to the link below:

ATAGI statement on revised recommendations on the use of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, 17 June 2021

 

 


New immunisation reference page: COVID-19 mixed vaccine schedules

With the emergence of variant COVID-19 strains, global vaccine supply issues, and the need to rapidly immunise the population, a number of clinical trials are investigating the option of “mixed schedules”. Mixed schedules have been used previously in other vaccination strategies and involve the administration of different vaccine brands to complete a vaccine course.

Our new reference page explores the clinical trials underway which aim to determine the safety of mixed scheduling, the immunogenicity, as well as the recommendations for intervals between doses.

Due to a lack of available data, mixed vaccine schedules are not currently approved in Australia however are in use in Canada and across Europe.

To read more, follow the link below:

MVEC: COVID-19 mixed vaccine schedules

 


The New York Times: A Multibillion-Dollar Plan to End Polio, and Soon

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative has announced a $5.1 billion plan to eradicate polio globally by 2026. In August 2021, African countries were declared free of wild polio, leaving Afghanistan and Pakistan as the only remaining countries with endemic disease. Due to inadequate funding and a lack of political commitment, there has previously been limited success in trying to achieve a polio-free world. The coronavirus pandemic has added further challenges, bringing some polio vaccination programs to a halt.

The new initiative is set to focus on two key goals: integrating polio vaccination programs with other health care initiatives and focusing on areas with chronically low immunisation rates. The plan also ensures vaccine supply and outlines a communication strategy to increase vaccine acceptance. In addition to this, a new oral vaccine has been introduced and is thought to minimise the risk of vaccine-induced polio.

A key focus of the polio eradication program will be on immunising hard-to-reach communities, and training older female health workers, who are more successful in persuading caregivers to vaccinate their children. In order to reinstate polio eradication as a priority, even with competing health challenges in these cash poor countries, experts believe that programs designed to crush polio can also be used to help manage COVID-19 and other diseases.

To read more, follow the link below:
The New York Times: A Multibillion-Dollar Plan to End Polio, and Soon


ABC: With their AstraZeneca supplies nearing expiration, PNG comes up with creative ways to vaccinate people

There has been a slow uptake of COVID-19 vaccines in Papua New Guinea (PNG), thought to be due to the impact of misinformation. With stocks of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines nearing their expiry date, creative initiatives have been undertaken in an effort to boost uptake.

Among these initiatives is the development of PNG’s first mobile vaccination unit, a yellow bus. The bus takes vaccines to communities enabling the locals to see the vaccination process in action.

All supplies, vaccines and emergency equipment required to vaccinate can be taken to villages in the bus, some of which don't have their own health clinics. This community led initiative enables people to seek information from health providers in an effort to overcome hesitancy and misinformation and get vaccinated.

With widespread community transmission, a focus remains on encouraging health care workers to get vaccinated, as well as eligible members of the community such as the elderly and those with comorbidities.

To read more about Papua New Guinea’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout and the mobile vaccination unit please refer to the link below:

ABC: With their AstraZeneca supplies nearing expiration, PNG comes up with creative ways to vaccinate people


MVEC eLearning: Vaccine Errors: Prevention, management and open disclosure

MVEC are excited to launch the next of our eLearning packages. Our eLearning packages are designed to allow immunisation providers to consolidate and evaluate their technical skills. Targeted resources are available to assist with our eLearning and a certificate of completion will be made available upon completion of the corresponding eLearning quiz.

Vaccine Errors: Prevention, management and open disclosure has been designed to provide an overview of how to prevent errors of vaccine administration, the management of a vaccine error and to demonstrate the open disclosure process.

You can access Vaccine Errors: Prevention, management and open disclosure via our MVEC Education Portal or via the following link:

MVEC eLearning: Vaccine Errors: Prevention, management and open disclosure


Joint statement between RANZCOG and ATAGI about COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) and ATAGI have released a joint statement regarding COVID-19 vaccines and pregnant women.

It is recommended that pregnant women are routinely offered Comirnaty™ at any stage of pregnancy. This recommendation has been made based on the increased risk of severe outcomes for pregnant women and their unborn baby, should the woman develop COVID-19 disease

This advice reflects the findings of international data which has not identified any safety signals following the administration of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines to pregnant women. Further to this, antibodies have been detected in the cord blood and breastmilk of vaccinated women, suggesting the transfer of protection to the baby,

To read the statement in full please refer to the following link:

Joint statement between RANZCOG and ATAGI about COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women

 


RACGP - Australian authorities update side effect advice on AstraZeneca vaccine

Following the recent joint statement from ATAGI and the Thrombosis and Haemostasis Society of Australia and New Zealand (THANZ), RACGP confirms that almost anyone over the age of 50 can safely receive the AstraZeneca vaccine. The statement also clarifies that the rare blood clotting condition that has been linked with the use of AstraZeneca’s vaccine in some groups – Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) – can now be treated effectively.

The latest release also confirms that the risk of TTS is not likely to be increased in people with the following conditions (and that over-50s in these groups can still get vaccinated with AstraZeneca):

  • History of blood clots in typical sites
  • Increased clotting tendency that is not immune mediated
  • Family history of blood clots
  • History of ischaemic heart disease or stroke
  • Current or past thrombocytopenia (low platelet count)
  • Those receiving anticoagulation therapy

Furthermore, the ATAGI/THANZ statement also reports that UK data suggest the risk of TTS is much lower following a second dose, with only 15 cases reported to date out of nine million administered, translating to an estimated rate of 1.7 cases per million doses.

Please refer to the article and statement in full in the following link:
RACGP - Australian authorities update side effect advice on AstraZeneca vaccine


Talking to patients about AstraZeneca vaccine resource

The Department of Health have created a resource for health professionals to assist in talking to patients about the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

This resource details key facts about the AstraZeneca vaccine including current recommendations, effectiveness and information about the risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia (TTS).

You can access the resource via the link below:

Health.gov.au: Talking to patients about AstraZeneca vaccine


Updated immunisation reference pages: TTS, G6PD and COVID-19 vaccines and allergy

We have recently updated some of our immunisation reference pages to include the latest information and recommendations regarding COVID-19 vaccines. To view these pages please follow the links below:

MVEC: Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS)
MVEC: G6PD deficiency and vaccines
MVEC: COVID-19 vaccines and allergy


BBC: Covid Vaccines: No, your jab isn't magnetic

Videos of people sticking magnets to where they claim they've had the Covid vaccine have racked up millions of views on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram.

Some people say there must be something magnetic in the vaccines and others have gone further to say it’s proof of a microchip - a theory which just isn’t true.

BBC Reality Check's Jack Goodman debunks the so-called #magnetchallenge.

To read more, follow the link below:

BBC: Covid Vaccines: No, your jab isn't magnetic