Updated immunisation reference page: Measles

Measles is a highly contagious illness caused by the measles virus of the Morbillivirus family. 

Infection is characterised by 3-4 days of fever, malaise, cough, coryza and conjunctivitis. A maculopapular rash then develops lasting up to 7 days. Complications of measles infections can include pneumonia, otitis media and encephalitis, which carries a mortality rate of 10-15%.  

Sub-acute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) is a rare progressive neurological disorder that can develop 2-10 years after an initial measles infection and is fatal in all cases. 

Our measles reference page has recently been updated to include information on measles prevention, precautions and contraindications to vaccination and post-exposure prophylaxis. 

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

MVEC: Measles 

ATAGI recommendations on the use of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6 months to 4 years

ATAGI have now recommended the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for use in some children aged 6 months – 5 years (The Moderna <5 COVID-19 vaccine has already been recommended for use in this group). Eligible groups include those with severe immunocompromise, a disability with severe or complex health needs, or those with multiple/complex health conditions that increase the risk of severe COVID-19 disease.  

A primary three-dose schedule, 8 weeks apart is recommended, with the dose being 3mcg. Unlike Moderna’s primary schedule in this age group, 3 doses are recommended for all eligible children <5 years, regardless of their immune status.  

There is no brand preference in this age group, however ATAGI recommend a primary schedule is completed with the same vaccine.  

ATAGI does not currently recommend COVID vaccination for children aged 6 months - 5 years who are not in the categories previously mentioned, based on a range of factors.  

Recommendations may change as alternative brands or variant COVID-19 vaccines become available in this age group, or if there are epidemiological changes such as new variants of concern that emerge.  

To read the ATAGI statement in full, follow the link below: 

ATAGI recommendations on the use of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6 months to 4 years

ATAGI update on boosters following COVID-19 meeting on 11 November 2022

In light of the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Australia and the emergence of Omicron subvariants XBB and BQ.1, ATAGI have provided an update on booster advice. 

Whilst no new recommendations for additional doses have been provided, ATAGI have reiterated the importance of staying up to date with the current number of recommended doses. Under-vaccinated people remain at an increased risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19.  

Recent figures (as of November 9, 2022) show that 5.5 million eligible people have not received a first booster dose. Further to this, there are 3.2 million people aged 50 years or older who have not received a second booster dose. 

 If you are due for a booster dose now you can book via the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Finder. 

To read the ATAGI update in full, refer to the link below: 

ATAGI update on boosters following COVID-19 meeting on 11 November 2022

ATAGI recommendations on use of the Pfizer bivalent (Original/Omicron BA.1) COVID-19 vaccine

ATAGI have provided recommendations for the use of the Pfizer bivalent COVID vaccine following its recent provisional approval by the TGA. This means that there are now 2 bivalent COVID vaccines available for use within Australia- Moderna and Pfizer. 

The Pfizer bivalent vaccine contains equal parts of mRNA from the spike protein of the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and the Omicron BA.1 variant.  

ATAGI recommends that the Pfizer bivalent vaccine may be given to anyone aged 18 years or over who is eligible for a booster dose. It is not recommended for use in a primary course of COVID vaccination.  

There is no preference for either brand of bivalent or original mRNA COVID vaccines as a booster dose. 

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

ATAGI recommendations on use of the Pfizer bivalent (Original/Omicron BA.1) COVID-19 vaccine

National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week 2022

Almost all cervical cancers are caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV. Most HPV infections are preventable through vaccination, with the HPV vaccine preventing 93% of cervical cancers.

National Cervical Cancer Awareness Week is taking place from 7 – 13 November and provides a strong platform to raise continued awareness of cervical cancer and unite Australians to take action to help Australia make cervical cancer history.

HPV vaccines are fully funded for all students in year 7 (or age-equivalent) through the high school immunisation program; however, any missed doses can be obtained at your GP, pharmacy or local council.

For more information visit our Human papillomavirus (HPV) immunisation reference page.

Clinical Vaccinology Update (CVU) 2022 - recordings now available

Recordings of the sessions from our recent Clinical Vaccinology Update (CVU) are now available to access via our MVEC Education Portal Homepage.

To access the recordings, attendees can sign in to our Education Portal using their existing account details or simply create an account if are a new user.

If you did not attend the event but would like to access the recordings, you can purchase access via our Educational Portal.

If you have any questions about our CVU event please contact info.mvec@mcri.edu.au.

Updated immunisation reference page: Monkeypox (MPX)

Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis (an infection spread from animals to humans). It is 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). 

Historically, smallpox vaccines have been used in the prevention of smallpox infection, however, they are also likely to be effective against monkeypox. 

There are two types of smallpox vaccines available for use in Australia for the prevention of monkeypox: 

  • ACAM2000™ – 2nd generation, live-attenuated vaccine 
  • JYNNEOS® – 3rd generation, non-replicating vaccine 

Our Monkeypox reference page has been updated to included expanded eligibility criteria for those at highest risk of being infected.  

To view the updated page in full, follow the link below: 

MVEC: Monkeypox

Updated immunisation reference page: Japanese encephalitis

Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is a rare but potentially serious infection caused by the flavivirus and is spread to humans through mosquito bites. It is a leading cause of vaccine-preventable encephalitis (brain infection) in Asia and the Western Pacific. It has recently been detected in piggeries in Victoria and the Eastern states of Australia and human cases have been reported. 

Our Japanese encephalitis reference page has been updated to include expanded eligibility criteria for Victorians in flood affected areas in Northern Victoria where more mosquitoes are present.  

To view the updated page in full, follow the link below: 

MVEC: Japanese encephalitis 

Upcoming event: Preventing Cervical Cancer Conference 2022

The Preventing Cervical Cancer Conference 2022 (PCC2022) is taking place on 16 – 18 November 2022 at the Sofitel Hotel in Melbourne. 

The Conference will be a hybrid face-to-face and virtual event bringing together leading experts across Australia, New Zealand and the Indo-Pacific region to discuss achieving a cervical cancer free future for women and girls across these regions. 

PCC2022 is hosted by the Australian Centre for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer and the NHMRC-funded Centre of Research Excellence in Cervical Cancer Control. 

For more information and to register for this conference, please click on the link below. 

Preventing Cervical Cancer Conference 2022 


Updated Immunisation reference page: Mandatory vaccine directions in Victoria

A vaccine mandate means that proof of vaccination, or an authorised medical exemption, is required in certain settings. Mandating is generally considered a late step in optimising vaccine uptake, as it is important to ensure vaccine access is available in an equitable way, before progressing to a mandate. Vaccine mandates may vary depending on the jurisdiction and there may be some variations around Australia.    

Our mandatory vaccine directions reference page has recently been updated to include the directions relevant to individuals in Victoria. They include: 

  • vaccine specific directions  
  • policy specific directions. 

To view the updated page in full, follow the link below:  

MVEC: Mandatory vaccine directions in Victoria