New immunisation reference page: Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib)

Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) is a vaccine-preventable strain of haemophilus influenzae bacteria. Even with treatment, 3% of Hib meningitis cases occurring in developed countries will be fatal and 10-30% of cases will have permanent neurological complications.

Before vaccination was included on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) in 1992, Hib was the biggest cause of invasive bacterial infection in children in Australia. Since then, the number of Hib infections notified has reduced by 95%.

Our new immunisation reference page includes information on Hib transmission, epidemiology and prevention.

MVEC: Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib)

ABS-CBN: Over 3 million kids vaxxed in first week of ‘Chikiting Ligtas’ - DOH

The Philippines Department of Health, with the support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO), recently launched ‘Chikiting Ligtas 2023’, a nationwide immunisation catch-up campaign to vaccinate children against measles, rubella and polio.

More than 3 million children have been vaccinated in the campaign’s first week.

Vaccine catch-up was the theme of WHO’s World Immunization Week in April this year. The Philippines has the fifth highest number of zero dose children, children who have not received any routine vaccines, globally.

ABS-CBN: Over 3 million kids vaxxed in first week of ‘Chikiting Ligtas’ - DOH

Updated reference page: Development and registration of vaccines

Vaccines, like any medication in development, must undergo rigorous testing procedures and scientific evaluation to prove not only their effect on the targeted disease, but also to determine their safety, before being licensed and registered for use in vaccination programs.

Our newly updated Vaccine development and registration page includes information about vaccine clinical trials, post-licensure surveillance, registration and provisional approval, as well as health economics assessments of vaccines.

Updated MVEC: Development and registration of vaccines

AAP FactCheck: No evidence of link between vaccine and ovary damage

MVEC director Professor Nigel Crawford spoke to the Australian Associated Press FactCheck team, addressing claims made about the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, Gardasil®9.

It has been claimed that the HPV vaccine can damage the ovaries and that is has been withdrawn from use in the United States. AAP FactCheck deemed this claim false.

Prof Crawford confirmed there is no evidence to support the claim that the HPV vaccine causes damage to the ovaries. The claim stems from a longstanding myth that the vaccine is associated with premature ovarian failure (POF). "The timing of the HPV vaccine around puberty (12-13 years) has led to some of these concerns (about POF) being raised", Prof Crawford said.

Prof Crawford further confirmed there is no evidence to support claims that the HPV vaccine is linked to seizures.

AAP Factcheck: No evidence of link between vaccine and ovary damage

2023-24 Federal Budget: Shingrix to replace Zostavax on NIP

The 2023-24 Federal Budget has allocated $446.7 million to replace Zostaxav with Shingrix, a different zoster (shingles) vaccine, on the National Immunisation Program (NIP). 

Shingrix is an inactivated vaccine whereas Zostavax is a live-attenuated vaccine, unsafe for immunosuppressed people. This means people with immunocompromise will now be able to access funded protection against the development of herpes zoster. 

Further details regarding which populations will be able to access Shingrix on the NIP have not been announced. 

MVEC: Zoster (herpes zoster)

NCIRS: Recording of HPV in 2023 webinar

The National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) has recently uploaded recordings of presentations from its recent HPV in 2023 webinar, held on 5 May 2023.

Leading researchers presented on:

  • the HPV vaccine and its impact in Australia and globally
  • a roadmap for cervical cancer elimination in Australia and our region
  • changes to the Australian HPV vaccination schedule and their implications
  • initiatives designed to maintain high levels of HPV vaccine coverage.

NCIRS HPV in 2023 webinar recordings

All Spikevax (Moderna) COVID-19 vaccines for children 6 months-5 years have now expired

As of May 3 2023, all stock of original/ancestral strain of Spikevax (Moderna) specific for children aged 6 months to 5 years has expired. Any remaining stock should not be administered and should be disposed of according to your state or territory’s requirements.

We have updated our guidelines to provide recommendations for children who have commenced their primary course with 1 dose of Spikevax and require further doses to complete their course.

  • Immune competent children can complete their primary course with 1 dose of age-appropriate Comirnaty (Pfizer) only.
  • Severely immunocompromised children who received 1 dose of Spikevax should receive a further 2 doses of Comirnaty 8 weeks apart to complete their primary course.
  • Severely immunocompromised children who received 2 doses of Spikevax should receive 1 further dose of Comirnaty 8 weeks later to complete their primary course.

Please note, vaccination is only recommended in this age group for children with severe immunocompromise, disability or a complex medical condition that places them at a higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease.

Find complete recommendations for children aged 6 months to 5 years on MVEC: COVID-19 vaccination in children and adolescents.

Updated immunisation reference page: Immunosuppression and vaccines

Immunosuppression refers to a person’s immune system being weakened, resulting in a decreased ability to fight infections. It can be caused by certain medical conditions or by taking specific medications.

Vaccination is particularly important in the setting of immunosuppression as individuals are at an increased risk of developing severe symptoms if exposed to vaccine-preventable diseases. Protection from vaccines can be suboptimal in this patient group and therefore additional doses of vaccines may be recommended. Conversely, some vaccines (live-attenuated vaccines) may be contraindicated due to the potential risk of vaccine-related disease.

We have recently updated our immunosuppression and vaccines reference page to incorporate information specific to COVID-19 immunisation which was previously detailed on a separate page. Information on vaccination timing, recommended vaccines, contraindicated vaccines, and considerations for immunosuppressed breastfeeding mothers and household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals is also included.

Updated MVEC: Immunosuppression and vaccines