ATAGI: Statement on the administration of seasonal influenza vaccines in 2024

ATAGI (Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation) has published their recommendations for the use seasonal influenza vaccines in Australia in 2024. 

Influenza vaccines are recommended annually and are funded on the National Immunisation Program (NIP) for: 

  • children aged 6 months to less than 5 years 
  • all adults aged 65 years and older  
  • specific populations aged 5 to 64 years who are at greatest risk of developing complications from influenza infection (including pregnant women, First Nations people, and those with certain medical risk factors). 

For more information refer to: ATAGI: Statement on the administration of seasonal influenza vaccines in 2024 

ATAGI: Statement on the administration of COVID-19 vaccines in 2024

ATAGI has released new advice relating to the administration of further COVID-19 vaccines. 

The need and frequency of further doses beyond a primary course depends on the age of the recipient and their level of immunocompromise:  

  • All individuals aged 75 years and over- recommended to receive a dose every 6 months 
  • All individuals aged 65 to 74 years- recommended to receive a dose every 12 months, but can consider a dose every 6 months 
  • Individuals with severe immunocompromise aged 18 to 64 years- recommended to receive a dose every 12 months, but can consider a dose every 6 months 
  • Individuals without severe immunocompromise aged 18 to 64- can consider a dose every 12 months 
  • Individuals with severe immunocompromise aged 5 to 17 years- can consider a dose every 12 months 
  • Individuals without severe immunocompromise aged 5 to 17 years- not recommended to receive further doses 
  • Individuals less than 5 years- not recommended to receive further doses. 

Omicron XBB1.5 vaccines are preferred for all primary and subsequent doses in all ages. There is currently no supply of the Comirnaty Omicron XBB1.5 formulation for children aged 6 months- 4 years however it is anticipated to be available later in 2024. Until this time providers should continue using the age-appropriate Comirnaty original formulation for this group.  

For more information refer to: ATAGI statement on the administration of COVID-19 vaccines in 2024 

Updated immunisation reference page: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a virus that causes both upper and lower respiratory tract infections. Children under 1 year of age, individuals with underlying medical conditions (e.g. chronic cardiac and lung disease), the older population and immunocompromised people are more likely to experience serious disease requiring hospitalisation. 

MVEC has recently updated its RSV reference page to include information on the administration of Arexvy, the only RSV vaccine available in Australia. This vaccine is registered for use in all adults aged 60 years and over and is specifically recommended for certain populations. 

MVEC: Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

Updated immunisation reference page: Japanese encephalitis

The Victorian Department of Health has recently extended its list of high-risk local government areas, increasing eligibility criteria for Japanese encephalitis vaccination. As a result, MVEC’s reference page on Japanese encephalitis has been updated. 

Vaccination is now recommended for individuals aged ≥ 2 months who live in the local government areas of Campaspe, Gannawarra, Greater Shepparton, Indigo, Loddon, Mildura, Moira, Swan Hill, Wodonga, Towong, Benalla, Wangaratta, Strathbogie, Buloke, Greater Bendigo, Hindmarsh, Horsham, Northern Grampians, West Wimmera and Yarriambiak who: 

  • regularly spend time outdoors engaging in activities that place them at risk of mosquito bites 
  • are experiencing homelessness or are living in conditions with limited mosquito protection (such as tents or exposed dwellings) 
  • are engaged in outdoor flood recovery efforts (this also applies to individuals from other areas who are deployed as part of flood recovery efforts). 

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

MVEC: Japanese encephalitis 

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




MVEC holiday period closure

On behalf of the MVEC Team, we wish you a very happy and safe holiday season with your loved ones.  

Our team will be taking a break and will return in February to provide you with more vaccine education, resources and events in 2023. We'd love to hear from you if there are any specific vaccine topics you would like to see covered next year! 

We also want to say a huge thank you to all our amazing collaborators who have kindly shared their expert knowledge across a number of important vaccine topics and across all of the MVEC platforms this year! 

If you’re travelling this holiday season, stay safe, make sure your vaccines are up to date and pack your sunscreen and insect repellent! 

Save the date for our next Immunisation Skills Workshop on 20th March 2023!

Following the success of our first Immunisation Skills Workshop, MVEC are pleased to announce the date for our next workshop taking place on Monday, 20th March 2023 

This full day interactive, face to face workshop is MVEC’s newest education opportunity designed to educate and upskill accredited immunisation providers on the principles and processes of managing:  

  • effective vaccine communication  
  • error prevention and management  
  • anaphylaxis and acute stress responses.  

In the workshop, attendees will hear from immunisation experts and be able to put their learnings into practice through participation in simulated scenarios.  

The workshop is not a graded assessment but will account for up to 10 nursing CPD hours and up to 20 points of CPD for pharmacist immunisers (including preparation and reading time).  

Venue: The HELP Precinct, The Royal Children’s Hospital, 50 Flemington Road, Parkville
Time: 8:30am – 4:30pm
Cost: $290.00 (including catering)  

Registrations will open to the public January 16th, 2023 via our events page.

New immunisation reference page: Polio

Polio (poliomyelitis) is caused by a gastrointestinal (gut) infection with one of 3 types of polioviruses (serotypes 1, 2 or 3). Polioviruses are RNA enteroviruses from the Picornaviridae family.

Approximately 70% of polio infections are asymptomatic or present as a non-specific febrile illness. It is estimated that flaccid paralysis occurs in less than 1 percent of all polio cases.

Our new reference page details transmission routes, epidemiology and it's prevention through vaccination.

To view the page in full follow the below link:

MVEC: Polio 

MVEC's Immunisation skills workshop - New date announced

Due to increasing COVID-19 case numbers in Victoria and the implementation of visitor restrictions at the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH), our Immunisation Skills Workshop due to be held at RCH on September 2, has been rescheduled for Friday 25th November. We look forward to announcing the program details and opening the registration for this event in the coming weeks.