TGA collecting COVID-19 vaccine side effect reports

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) have published a summary of suspected adverse events reported following COVID-19 immunisation since the commencement of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. All reports to date reflect the expected side effects identified in clinical trials for Comirnaty™. Reports include cases of feeling faint, headache, dizziness or nausea. The two cases of administration error in a Brisbane aged care facility have not been associated with any adverse outcomes.

Commencing Wednesday March 3, 2021 the TGA will publish weekly updates on the number of COVID-19 vaccine adverse event reported.

For more information refer to the following link:

TGA collecting COVID-19 vaccine side effect reports


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


The University of Melbourne: Learning as we go during vaccine rollout

As Australia begins its COVID-19 vaccine rollout, preventing disease transmission and achieving herd immunity are the long-term goals. This will only become known once the vaccine has been administered in a larger population.

The following article explores our experiences with past immunisation programs and highlights the idea of modifying schedules as further information comes to light. It is recommended that in the context of COVID-19 vaccines and a global pandemic, we must use the vaccines that are available now, and then adapt the program later.

It is suggested that with Australia's current rate of disease burden, further consideration needs to be given to developing countries to ensure a vaccine is readily available and affordable for all.

To read more follow the link below:

The University of Melbourne: Learning as we go during vaccine rollout


The Conversation: When vaccinating 26 million Australians, expect a mistake or two. But we can minimise the risk of repeating Queensland's overdose incident

Following the inadvertent administration of a higher than recommended dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to two aged-care residents, the following article discusses how this incident could happen and how we can aim to minimise the risk of it happening again.

Looking at data collected from clinical trials it is reassuring that this mistake is unlikely to have serious side effects. Moving forward it is suggested that supporting the education of immunisation providers, as well as enhancing the way we capture errors, will promote confidence in a COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

To read the article in full follow the link below:

The Conversation: When vaccinating 26 million Australians, expect a mistake or two. But we can minimise the risk of repeating Queensland’s overdose incident 


Registrations now open for the March CVU miniseries event

The next Clinical Vaccinology Update (CVU) miniseries event, COVID-19 vaccines: engagement, communication and safety, will be held virtually on Tuesday 9th March, 2021.

We are excited to welcome our panel who will be presenting on COVID-19 vaccine stakeholder engagement, participation and communication, as well as giving an update on the Victorian Specialist Immunisation Service (VicSIS) and international vaccine safety.

A full program of this free event can be found via our Events page and the link below:

CVU mini: March 9th, 2021


A recording of the February CVU mini is now available

Thank you to all who attended our recent CVU miniseries event COVID-19 Vaccines: A Victorian Landscape on February 8th 2021.

Presentation topics included COVID-19 vaccine platforms, COVID-19 vaccine safety, COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Victoria, as well as stakeholder engagement and participation.

A free recording of this event is now available via our education portal.

To access this recording please follow the link below:

CVU mini- 8th February 2021


Victorian COVID-19 e-Learning Competency

Developed in partnership with the Victorian Government Department of Health, The Victorian COVID-19 e-Learning Competency is the latest course available on the MVEC education portal. This competency forms part of the pre-requisite training requirements for Victorian emergency authorised registered health professionals to administer COVID -19 vaccines.

The aim of completing this competency is to assist health professionals to be appropriately trained and competent to deliver COVID-19 vaccines.

To access this competency please follow the link below:

MVEC Education Portal: Victorian COVID-19 eLearning Competency