Additional module added to Victorian COVID-19 eLearning Competency

An additional module titled Preparing Comirnaty™ (Pfizer BNT162b2) COVID-19 Vaccine has been added to the Victorian COVID-19 eLearning Competency.

Please note the advice contained in this module is specific to the COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine BNT162b2 (Comirnaty™).

If you have already completed the Victorian COVID-19 eLearning Competency you can login and access this additional module via your profile in the MVEC Education Portal.

 


Swollen Lymph Nodes Under Armpit After COVID-19 Vaccine May Mimic Breast Cancer Symptoms

The Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) in the United States is recommending women wait at least four weeks after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine to schedule a mammogram due to the potential side-effect of swollen or tender lymph nodes in the armpit. Changes in the lymph nodes can be a sign of breast cancer and the concerns are this could lead to false readings on mammograms leading to further unnecessary testing.

This advice was issued based on the rates of swelling and tenderness in the lymph nodes post the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. Whilst rare in people who have received the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine (which is currently provisionally registered for use in Australia), the SBI notes the incidence rates are most likely higher than reported and accordingly issued the aforementioned advice to separate mammograms from COVID-19 vaccines by four to six weeks.

Read more via the link below:

Health online: Swollen Lymph Nodes Under Armpit After COVID-19 Vaccine May Mimic Breast Cancer Symptoms—Here’s What to Know


ATAGI COVID-19 vaccination decision guide for frail older people, including those in residential aged care facilities

ATAGI have published a COVID-19 vaccination decision guide for frail older people, including those in residential aged care facilities in order to assist this population group or their caregivers to make an informed decision about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Currently in Australia there are 2 vaccines approved for use to prevent severe COVID-19 disease. They are available for free, with older populations in the earlier priority groups identified for eligibility. Both vaccines have been recommended by the TGA for use in older people, with no upper age limit for either vaccine.

Read more via the links below:


New immunisation reference page: Immunisation recommendations for the older population

There are a variety of factors that need to be considered in relation to the vaccination of the older population. A gradual decline of the immune system occurs as people age (known as immunosenescence), impacting how the immune system responds to new infections, as well as the effectiveness of long-term immune memory. An increasing prevalence of comorbidities, as well as the use of various therapies and medications can also cause older adults to be more vulnerable to infections and their complications.

Our new reference page details the vaccine recommendations for the older population, including COVID-19, influenza, pneumococcal and zoster vaccines, as well as highlights the importance of utilising the Australian Immunisation Register when immunising this patient group.

Find out more about the vaccines recommended by reading our new immunisation reference page, linked below.

MVEC: Immunisation recommendations for the older population


ATAGI COVID-19 vaccination decision guide for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning pregnancy

COVID-19 vaccines are not routinely recommended in pregnancy, however they are not contraindicated.

COVID-19 vaccines can be considered if a pregnant woman has medical risk factors for severe COVID-19 disease or is at a high risk of exposure and contact with people with the virus. Pregnant women have been shown to have an increased risk of needing admission to intensive care and requiring mechanical ventilation if they contract COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant women of the same age. Pregnant women can discuss this with their health provider to ascertain if the potential benefit of receiving a COVID vaccine outweighs any risks.

ATAGI have released a COVID-19 vaccination decision guide for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning pregnancy and considering having a COVID-19 vaccine.

Learn more via links below:

MVEC: Maternal vaccination during pregnancy (recently updated)

ATAGI COVID-19 vaccination decision guide for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning pregnancy


Effectiveness of First Dose of COVID-19 Vaccines Against Hospital Admissions in Scotland

A recent study in Scotland has investigated the effectiveness of the BNT162b2 mRNA (Pfizer-BioNTech) and ChAdOx1 (Oxford-AstraZeneca) COVID-19 vaccines in preventing hospital admissions.

The study across approximately 99% of Scotland’s population (5.4 million people) found that a single dose of either vaccine resulted in significant reductions in COVID-19 related hospitalisations.

Read more via the link below:

Preprints with The Lancet: Effectiveness of First Dose of COVID-19 Vaccines Against Hospital Admissions in Scotland: National Prospective Cohort Study of 5.4 Million People


COVID-19 Vaccination Intent, Perceptions, and Reasons for Not Vaccinating Among Groups Prioritized for Early Vaccination

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States shows intent to receive a COVID-19 vaccination has risen to almost 50% amongst adults and priority groups, up from almost 40% several months prior. Non-intent has dropped to around 32%, with the groups with the highest levels of non-intent including young adults, females, non-Hispanic Black adults, adults who do not live in metropolitan areas and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.

The report highlights the key role health care workers play in addressing reasons for non-intent as they are trusted sources of information. This will be critical in promoting vaccine confidence and decreasing the spread of COVID-19 by ensuring there is equitable vaccine coverage and uptake amongst minority populations.

Read the full report below:

CDC: COVID-19 Vaccination Intent, Perceptions, and Reasons for Not Vaccinating Among Groups Prioritized for Early Vaccination — United States, September and December 2020


Patterns of COVID-19 dynamics following deployment of a broad national immunization program

A data analysis in Israel has investigated the number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations following a vaccination campaign that commenced in December 2020. At the time of analysis, 80% of people aged over 60-years had been vaccinated. The data demonstrated a 49% drop in COVID-19 cases, a 36% drop in COVID-19 related hospitalisations and a 29% drop in critically ill patients compared to three weeks prior in this age group.

Read more below:

MedRxiv: Patterns of COVID-19 pandemic dynamics following deployment of a broad national immunization program


COVID vaccine offers two-thirds protection in just one jab

Positive news out of the United Kingdom with findings set to be published in the coming days demonstrating one dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine starts providing protection in as little as two weeks in younger adults, and three weeks in the elderly population. The data further demonstrates the vaccine is just as effective in people aged over 80-years as it is in people aged under 65-years.

One dose has shown to reduce symptomatic infection risk by 65% in younger adults and by 64% in people aged over 80 years, with protection rising to between 79% and 84% after two doses.

Scientists also note data regarding the AstraZeneca vaccine is showing similar levels of protection across all age groups.

The research is suggestive that people in Britain who have been vaccinated to date will have high levels of protection by the end of February, with admissions to intensive care expected to fall by up to a third by early March.

The Sun: Covid vaccine offers two-thirds protection in just ONE jab and will lead to lockdown escape

 


New immunisation reference page: Multi-dose vials

Our new reference page Multi-dose vials details the safe preparation and storage of vaccines from multi-dose vials that require reconstitution and from those that do not, as well as infection control and storage and handling principles to consider.

To access this resource please visit our Immunisation References or follow the link below:

MVEC: Multi-dose vials