ATAGI recommendations on the use of the Moderna bivalent (Original/Omicron 4/5) COVID-19 vaccine

ATAGI have updated their recommendations on the use of the Moderna bivalent COVID vaccine, with it now being recommended as an option in anyone aged 12 years and over who is eligible for a booster dose.  

The Moderna bivalent vaccine contains equal parts of mRNA from the spike proteins from the ancestral strain of SARS-CoV-2 and the Omicron BA.4/5 subvariant.  

Bivalent vaccines are the preferred option for booster doses as early evidence indicates they provide greater protection against hospitalisation or death from circulating subvariants than the original Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.

They are not recommended for use in a primary course of COVID vaccination.  

For read the ATAGI recommendations in full, head to the link below: 

ATAGI recommendations on the use of the Moderna bivalent (Original/Omicron 4/5) COVID-19 vaccine 

Updated immunisation reference page: Human papillomavirus

Our human papillomavirus (HPV) reference page has been updated to reflect the National Immunisation Program (NIP) recently moving to a single dose of vaccine only for immune competent individuals 25 years of age and under. Immunocompromised individuals of any age and anyone 26 years of age and over continue to be recommended 3 doses for optimal protection. 

HPV is a double stranded DNA virus that can infect both men and women. It can affect a person’s anogenital or respiratory tract. There are more than 100 known sub-types of HPV, with 40 of them affecting the anogenital region. 

Vaccination against HPV is ideally provided prior to sexual activity to protect against the development of lesions such as genital warts, cutaneous warts and respiratory papillomatosis, as well as various cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, anus, oral cavity and oropharynx. 

HPV vaccination is currently provided to all school aged adolescents in year 7, with a funded catch-up program available up to the age of 26 years.  

For more information refer to MVEC: Human papillomavirus 

New immunisation reference page: COVID-19

COVID-19 is a disease caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Coronaviruses can cause a range of illnesses, from mild respiratory infections to more serious disease affecting multiple organs and systems. SARS-CoV-2 is a highly contagious strain of coronavirus discovered in 2019. It is a strain that had not been previously detected in humans that spread rapidly, resulting in a global pandemic.   

COVID-19 disease can be asymptomatic, cause mild to moderate symptoms or can progress to severe illness in over 10% of people, requiring hospitalisation and mechanical ventilation, or even death. Even when infections are asymptomatic; individuals can still transmit disease to other people.   

Tens of millions of people have been infected with COVID-19 globally and millions have died. The virus has had vast impacts on society, not only from a public health perspective, but the economic, social and mental health effects have been and continue to be, enormous.  

Vaccination against COVID-19 disease aims to reduce the severity of symptoms and need for hospitalisations. Recommendations are based on an individual’s level of risk of severe disease.  

Our new COVID-19 reference page brings together information from across our website on COVID-19 disease, vaccine recommendations and vaccine side effects.  

To view the page in full, refer to the link below: 


Updated immunisation reference page: Meningococcal

Meningococcal disease constitutes any illness caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis. There are 13 known sub-types (serogroups) and of these, 5 are currently vaccine preventable (B and A, C, W, Y). 

Invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) can cause meningitis (inflammation of the membrane covering the brain and spinal cord) and septicaemia (infection in the blood), as well as other infections like pneumonia (lung infection), arthritis (inflammation of the joints) and conjunctivitis (eye infection). Mortality (death) can be as high as 5-10% with permanent lifelong complications occurring in 10-20% of those who survive. 

Individuals with specified medical conditions that increase the risk of IMD are recommended and funded to receive additional meningococcal vaccines and booster doses. 

Our immunisation reference page has recently been updated to include:

  • updated MenACWY vaccine recommendations for high-risk individuals
  • updated MenB vaccine recommendations for high-risk individuals.  

To view the updated page in full, refer to the link below: 

MVEC: Meningococcal  

Updated immunisation recommendations for those with asplenia or hyposplenia

Following a change in the recommendation for booster doses of meningococcal B and ACWY vaccines for those at increased risk of invasive meningococcal disease, MVEC have updated their guidance on the immunisation of people with asplenia or hyposplenia. 

The spleen plays an important role in preventing infection by removing bacteria (particularly encapsulated bacteria) from the blood stream. Individuals with anatomical asplenia or hyposplenia are therefore at an increased risk of infection. In addition to being up to date with National Immunisation Program (NIP) and COVID-19 vaccines, individuals with asplenia or hyposplenia are recommended and funded to receive extra vaccines. 

To view these recommendations please refer to MVEC: Asplenia and hyposplenia 

NCIRS webinar - COVID-19 and influenza vaccination update 2023

The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) is hosting their annual influenza webinar on March 16, 2023 at 12pm AEDST to discuss the updated recommendations for COVID-19 and influenza vaccination in 2023.

Leading experts in the field will present on:

  • learnings from the recent Northern Hemisphere winter experience managing COVID-19 and influenza
  • the latest Australian COVID-19 vaccination booster recommendations
  • 2023 Australian influenza vaccination recommendations across the lifespan, including important changes for 0–5 year olds.

Healthcare providers can register for this event here.

ATAGI recommendations for COVID-19 booster doses in 2023

ATAGI have released new recommendations for the administration of COVID-19 booster doses in 2023. This advice replaces the previous booster dose recommendations.

Evidence shows that emerging Omicron subvariants have decreased the protection provided by previous doses of vaccines and/or reduced the length of protection. With winter approaching, administration of COVID-19 booster doses aims to prevent severe infections as well as hospitalisations.

ATAGI particularly recommends booster doses for:

  • All adults aged 65 years and over
  • Adults aged 18-64 years who have a medical condition which may increase their risk of experiencing severe symptoms if infected.

The following groups should also consider a booster dose:

  • All adults aged 18-64 years
  • Children and adolescents aged 5-17 years with disability or medical conditions which may increase their risk of experiencing severe symptoms if infected.

Vaccines can be administered any time from 6 months since the last dose of vaccine or 6 months since confirmed infection (whichever is later), ideally before June. All of the COVID-19 vaccines available in Australia provide protection, however bivalent mRNA vaccines are the preferred choice for booster doses in eligible groups:

  • Pfizer's bivalent vaccine can be administered from 12 years of age
  • Moderna's bivalent vaccine can be administered from 18 years of age
  • Ages 5-11 years can receive age-appropriate doses of original vaccines.

For more information refer to ATAGI 2023 booster advice




HPV schedule changes from February 2023

Following the review of a large volume of international evidence, ATAGI have recommended that a single dose of Gardasil®9 (human papillomavirus vaccine) provides comparable protection in immune competent individuals compared with a 2 dose course. This recommendation is in line advice from the World Health Organization Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) and the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination Immunisation (JCVI). 

As a result, from February 6 2023, the National Immunisation program (NIP) moved to a single dose only Gardasil®9 schedule for immune competent adolescents aged 12-13 years. Individuals who have previously received 1 dose only and are waiting to receive their second dose no longer need to receive this dose, and are considered up to date. The Gardasil®9 catch-up program has also changed to a single dose only and has been extended to all individuals up 25 years and under.  

Immunocompromised individuals are still recommended to receive a 3 dose course of vaccination to ensure optimum protection.    

Rotarix® dosing administration wheel - discrepancy in date estimates

Errors in date estimates have been reported when administering Rotarix® vaccines based upon the GSK dosing wheel.  

It is important to be aware that there has been no impact on the quality, safety or effectiveness of Rotarix® vaccines and these should continue to be provided to patients as per National Immunisation Program (NIP) recommendations. A 2 dose course is recommended for infants, noting that the first dose of Rotarix® should be administered between 6-14 weeks of age (before turning 15 weeks of age) and the second dose between 10-24 weeks of age (before turning 25 weeks). 

GSK have recommended that providers stop using the administration wheel to calculate due dates, discard any copies in their possession and revert to manual calculation of due dates. An updated version of the wheel will be created in 2023.   

Updated immunisation reference page: Mpox

Mpox (monkeypox) is a viral zoonosis (an infection spread from animals to humans) caused by a virus that belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus (which also causes the variola virus responsible for smallpox disease and the vaccinia virus, which is used in smallpox vaccines). Since the eradication of smallpox in 1980, mpox has become the most important orthopoxvirus affecting humans, however, causes less severe disease than smallpox.

Increasing numbers of Mpox have been reported globally over the last 2 years, with 141 confirmed or probable cases identified in Australia as of November 2022. Vaccination is currently recommended for individuals identified at highest risk of exposure and severe disease.

Our immunisation reference page has recently been updated to include:

  • intradermal administration recommendations
  • changes in terminology for pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxis.

To view the updated page in full, refer to the link below:

MVEC: Mpox (monkeypox)