New educational resource: Generation Next course on COVID and kids

MVEC has collaborated with the team at Generation Next on a new resource featuring Dr Daryl Cheng to provide helpful strategies to get kids back to school safely and reduce transmission of COVID-19 in this group.

Course content reflects the combined efforts of immunisation paediatricians, adult physicians, immunisation nurses, infectious disease, and allergy specialists, as well as infection control teams. The information works to provide guidance and support for parents and communities to ensure a safe transition to a new COVID normal.

To enrol in this free course, please click on the link below:

Next Generation course: Covid and kids

SMH: Separating reproductive health fact from COVID-19 vaccine fiction

Dr Daryl Cheng spoke to ABC journalist Sarah Berry regarding the increasing amount of misinformation circulating about COVID-19 vaccines and women’s health. Many of the rumours target women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy and who are already experiencing anxiety about making the best choices for the health of their babies.

In this article, Dr Daryl Cheng provides scientific data-based insights on the vaccine’s effect on reproductive health. The data focuses on providing advice and information to help refute some persistent rumours regarding fertility, menstruation, and IVF treatments in women.

Follow this link to read the full article:
SMH: Separating reproductive health fact from COVID-19 vaccine fiction

The Conversation: Who can’t have a COVID vaccine and how do I get a medical exemption?

State and territory governments and businesses are currently in the process of establishing COVID-19 vaccine mandates across a range of sectors, including the Victorian government which mandated COVID vaccination for all authorised workers last week. Despite this necessary step, there is still a very small amount of people who are unable to receive a COVID-19 vaccine for medical reasons. ATAGI has released guidelines on which instances an individual may be granted a medical exception.

The only criteria for a permanent exception are due to anaphylaxis following a previous COVID-19 vaccine dose or to any component of a vaccine.

Temporary exceptions may be approved for some “acute major medical illnesses” where the COVID vaccine can be deferred for a certain amount of time.

COVID vaccine exceptions can be administered by general practitioners, paediatricians, clinical immunologists, infectious disease, general or public health physicians, gynaecologists, or obstetricians. As vaccine mandates continue to be implemented, it’s crucial for employers, individuals, and medical providers to stay up to date with new ATAGI clinical guidance regarding the medical exemption criteria.

Click the link to read the full article:
The Conversation: Who can’t have a COVID vaccine and how do I get a medical exemption?  

ABC News: Pfizer to apply for approval for COVID-19 vaccine to be used for five to 11 year-old children

Initial results from the highly anticipated trial involving more than 2,000 children studying the effectiveness and safety of the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 have shown the vaccine is safe and establishes a strong antibody response against the virus.

Despite the initial promising results, it will be some time before an official rollout of vaccines for children ages 5 to 11 both in the US and here in Australia. Once the analysis of the trial is completed, in order to be granted approval, the company is required to provide the FDA with a formal immune “bridging” study which provides data-based evidence that children developed the same antibody levels already proven to be protective in older children and teenagers. The results will be submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for review and emergency use authorisation.

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

The Age: ‘Jabba the Bus’ to take regional vaccination drive onto the road

Jabba the bus brings about exciting news for COVID-19 vaccination in regional Victoria. The mobile vaccine hub will deliver essential AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines to isolated residents of regional Victoria. The focus will be on the City of Greater Shepparton as well as Moira, Benalla, Strathbogie, Mitchell, Mansfield Murrindindi and Campaspe.

A high sense of urgency perpetuated the need for the mobile vaccination hub following a large COVID-19 outbreak in Shepparton which forced more than 20 000 people into isolation, including more than 500 staff from Goulburn Valley Health. Goulburn Valley Health Chief executive Matt Sharp indicated that currently, only 45 per cent of people had received even their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while an increasingly more alarming rate of just 26 per cent received their second dose.

The mobile vaccination station, which is the first service of its’ kind in the state represents a promising opportunity to increase vaccine uptake amongst groups of people who otherwise may not have access to the vaccine and includes easy accessibility for people with disabilities.

Full article:
The Age: The Age: ‘Jabba the Bus’ to take regional vaccination drive onto the road


FDA news release: FDA Approves First COVID-19 Vaccine

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted full approval of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 16 years of age and above. The mRNA vaccine was first approved under emergency use authorisation back in December 2020, and is currently the first and only COVID-19 vaccine to receive full authorisation for use.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement the FDA's approval "affirms the efficacy and safety profile of our vaccine at a time when it is urgently needed."

All FDA-approved vaccines undergo a rigorous standard process for reviewing the quality, safety, and effectiveness. For Comirnaty, new clinical data is used in conjunction with existing information submitted during the initial EUA stage. The FDA’s approval process concluded that the vaccine was 91% effective in preventing COVID-19 disease based on the evaluation of approximately 20,000 vaccine recipients as well as 20,000 placebo recipients aged 16 years and above. Furthermore, to better assess the long term safety outcomes, approximately 12,000 recipients were monitored for an additional 6 months following their second dose of the vaccine. Conclusively, results suggest that the vaccines show an increased risk of myocarditis and pericarditis, particularly among males under the age of 40, following their second jab. The FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with the company will continue to monitor the safety and effectiveness of the Comirnaty vaccines, to ensure any concerns continue to be identified and evaluated in a timely manner.

To read the full article, click on the link below:

ATAGI advice on influenza and COVID-19 vaccines

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) have published advice related to the administration of influenza and COVID-19 vaccines.

Due to a lack of safety and immunogenicity data on the co-administration of these vaccines, it is therefore recommended that influenza and COVID-19 vaccines are not administered on the same day, but with a minimum interval of 14 days. There is no preference regarding the order of vaccine administration, noting that both the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines require a 2-dose schedule. If influenza and COVID-19 vaccines are inadvertently administered on the same day or are administered within a shorter timeframe than 14 days, revaccination with either vaccine is not recommended.

To read the advice in full, refer to the link below:

ATAGI advice on influenza and COVID-19 vaccines

GACVS COVID-19 Vaccine Safety subcommittee meeting to review reports of deaths of very frail elderly individuals vaccinated with Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, BNT162b2

The role of the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) is to provide independent, expert advice to the World Health Organization on the safety of vaccines.

On January 19 2021 a virtual meeting was held to review all available information on the deaths reported in frail, elderly individuals who had received the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Following this review, it was concluded that vaccination has not contributed to any unexpected or increase in number of fatalities in this patient group. As such, there is no change in recommendations around safety of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

To read more, follow the link below:

WHO: GACVS COVID-19 Vaccine Safety subcommittee meeting to review reports of deaths of very frail elderly individuals vaccinated with Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, BNT162b2

Complete program for the CVU Miniseries virtual event now available

The next Clinical Vaccinology Update Miniseries event, COVID-19 vaccines: a Victorian landscape, will be held virtually on February 8th, 2021.

We are excited to welcome our presenters who will be covering the COVID-19 vaccine landscape in Victoria, including vaccine safety, Victorian COVID-19 vaccine rollout plans and stakeholder engagement and participation.

This is a free event, however you will need to register for tickets via the link below, where you can also view the complete program:

CVU Miniseries: February 8, 2021


New immunisation reference page: COVAX Facility

The COVAX Facility is coordinated by Gavi (the Vaccine Alliance), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the World Health Organization. It brings together governments of over 180 countries, global health organisations, private sector, scientists and manufacturers, in order to provide innovative and equitable access to COVID-19 diagnostics, treatments and vaccines. Our new reference page details information on the COVAX Facility COVID-19 vaccine portfolio.

To read more please refer to the link below:

MVEC: COVAX Facility