ATAGI statement on use of COVID-19 vaccines in an outbreak setting

ATAGI have reviewed their COVID-19 vaccine advice and provided updated recommendations for significant COVID-19 outbreaks involving the Delta strain.

  • ATAGI reinforces the recommendation for immunisation of those aged ≥ 60 years with COVID-19 AstraZeneca, with the benefits of vaccination strongly outweighing the risks.
  • Vaccination of priority groups (eg. healthcare workers, disability and aged care workers, older people and those with medical risk factors) should be supported.
  • Where supply of Comirnaty™ is constrained, adults under 60 years of age should reassess the benefits to them and their contacts from being vaccinated with COVID-19 AstraZeneca, versus the very rare risk of side effects.
  • Additional unallocated supplies of any COVID-19 vaccine should be prioritised to populations in the areas of greatest risk of COVID-19 disease.
  • In outbreak situations, the preferred interval between doses of COVID-19 AstraZeneca is 4-8 weeks. The recommended interval betweeen doses in a non-outbreak setting remains 12 weeks.
  • Recommendations around the use of Comirnaty™ in an outbreak setting remain unchanged.

To read the statement in full, please click on the link below:

ATAGI statement on use of COVID-19 vaccines in an outbreak setting

SAEFVIC Rapid report: a new reporting pathway for COVID-19 vaccine AEFI

Reporting adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) is not mandatory in Victoria, however doing so allows the rapid investigation of any potential vaccine or system problems. This helps to ensure a safe and effective immunisation program and it maintains community confidence in vaccines.

The new SAEFVIC Rapid reporting pathway has been launched for reporting any common or expected side effects following a COVID-19 vaccine. Reporting via this pathway will not result in follow up of clinical symptoms however it will contribute to data collection and assist health authorities to understand the frequency of symptoms occurring. Should the vaccinee experience significant side effects, completing the SAEFVIC Extended report is recommended.

For more information on SAEFVIC, symptoms that should be reported, and instructions on how to report, please visit our immunisation reference page below:

MVEC: Surveillance of Adverse Events Following Vaccination in the Community (SAEFVIC)

ATAGI: Statement on the clinical use of zoster vaccines in older adults in Australia

There are 2 vaccines available for use within Australia to prevent the development of herpes zoster (shingles).

Zostavax is a live-attenuated vaccine and is funded on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) for immunocompetent adults aged 70 years and over.

Shingrix is a non-live vaccine. It is the preferred vaccine for those aged over 50 years due to a higher efficacy. It is currently only available for private purchase and availability is limited.

ATAGI have released a statement informing the use both vaccines. To read the statement in full please follow the link below:

ATAGI: Statement on the clinical use of zoster vaccines in older adults in Australia

The Conversation: Let’s hold off vaccinating children and teens against COVID-19. Prioritising adults is our best shot for now

Some countries who have successfully vaccinated a high proportion of their adult population are now shifting the focus of their COVID-19 vaccine rollout towards children and adolescents.

The following article reviews various international vaccine strategies for the younger population, and explores COVID-19 vaccine safety, including expected vaccine side effects and reports of myocarditis and pericarditis in adolescents. It looks at the potential impact that vaccination of children could have on transmission, herd immunity and keeping schools open.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognises that globally the vaccine rollout has been slow and inequitable. Low income countries have insufficient vaccine supplies to protect high-priority groups.

In Australia where rates of COVID-19 community transmission is low, it is important that efforts remain on maximising vaccine coverage for adults and those who are at highest risk of severe COVID-19 disease.

To read more, follow the link below:

The Conversation: Let’s hold off vaccinating children and teens against COVID-19. Prioritising adults is our best shot for now



Australia's COVID-19 vaccine coverage update- July 5 2021

The Australian Government Department of Health continue to publish information relating to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout; including data on population coverage.

Latest figures show that 71.64% of Victorians aged 70 years and over have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, with 16% having completed both recommended doses.

To view these statistics and read other information relating to vaccine distribution and uptake, please refer to:

Australian Government Department of Health: Australia's COVID-19 vaccine rollout

MVEC Animation: Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) explained

MVEC have created a new animation to help to explain Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS), a rare and newly identified syndrome which has been reported in people who have received adenoviral vector COVID-19 vaccines such as COVID-19 AstraZeneca and the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. This short animation helps to describe what it is, who is at risk and how TTS is diagnosed.

To view the animation and to find out more information on TTS please refer to our immunisation reference page:

MVEC: Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia

New resource: The MVEC Conversation: Vaccine Confidence

The Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre is excited to announce our latest resource The MVEC Conversation: Vaccine Confidence​. This two-part series features vaccine communication experts A/Prof Margie Danchin and Dr Jessica Kaufman and is designed to equip you with the knowledge and practical skills required to confidently address vaccine questions in the community.

Part 1 – Using both qualitative and quantitative research methods, and ​applying principles from social and behavioural science, our vaccine experts discuss findings from the COVID-19 Vaccine Preparedness Study​. We explore ​people’s intention to vaccinate and delve into ways in which people can be supported to reach this decision. 

Part 2 – We look at the ​importance of a being a ​Vaccine Champion and provide you with practical communication strategies to help build vaccine confidence and improve vaccine uptake.

To access this series, please login/register via the MVEC Education Portal.

The Conversation: Should I get my second AstraZeneca dose? Yes, it almost doubles your protection against Delta

With the most recent COVID-19 outbreaks and lockdowns currently going on across the country, there is pressure to speed up Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine roll out.

It is reported that over six million Australians (30% of those eligible) have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 3.8 million of those receiving their first dose as AstraZeneca. While the benefits of vaccination are well known, there are reports of people cancelling their appointments for dose 2 due to concerns about thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS).

Current UK data suggests that the risk of developing TTS is far lower following dose 2 AstraZeneca, with a rate of approximately 1 in 1.5 million doses.

Completing a 2 dose course of COVID-19 vaccines is important in order to reach optimal levels of protection. One dose of COVID-19 AstraZeneca offers 33% protection against the Delta strain of the virus currently circulating Sydney. This protection almost doubles to 60% once the second dose has been completed.

To read more, follow the link below:
The Conversation: Should I get my second AstraZeneca dose? Yes, it almost doubles your protection against Delta

Updated immunisation reference page: Vaccine confidence

We have recently updated our Vaccine confidence immunisation reference page to include the latest information  and resources available to help address people’s questions and concerns about vaccines.

Our page includes information on how to talk to people who have concerns about vaccines, how to tackle misinformation and how to be a vaccine champion in your workplace or community.

To view this page, please click on the following link:

MVEC: Vaccine confidence


New immunisation reference page: Myocarditis and pericarditis following mRNA COVID-19 vaccines

Myocarditis is an inflammatory disease of the heart muscle, whilst pericarditis is an inflammatory disease of the lining of the heart muscle. They are rare conditions, most commonly associated with viral infections (including SARS-CoV-2) but can also be triggered by other factors such as medications and autoimmune conditions. Globally, an increased number of cases above an expected population rate of myocarditis and pericarditis have been reported in individuals who have received mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (eg. Comirnaty™ and Moderna).

Our new reference page discusses the temporal association of myocarditis and pericarditis with mRNA COVID-19 vaccination, symptoms, investigations, as well as the implications on future COVID-19 vaccination.

To read more follow the link below:

MVEC: Myocarditis and pericarditis following mRNA COVID-19 vaccines