CDC: Effectiveness of Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA Vaccination Against COVID-19 Hospitalization Among Persons Aged 12–18 Years

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released a report about the effectiveness of Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccination against COVID-19 hospitalization among persons aged 12–18 years.

The findings in the report suggested that among hospitalized U.S. patients aged 12–18 years, vaccine effectiveness of 2 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 hospitalization during June–September 2021, was 93% (95% confidence interval = 83%–97%).

Key evaluation from the report demonstrated that 2 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were highly effective in preventing COVID-19 hospitalization among persons aged 12–18 years, reinforcing the importance of vaccination to protect U.S. youths against severe COVID-19.

To read the report in full, please click on the link below.
CDC: Effectiveness of Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA Vaccination Against COVID-19 Hospitalization Among Persons Aged 12–18 Years


National Immunisation Program: Shingles vaccination catch-up program extended

The Department of Health has extended the shingles (herpes zoster) vaccine catch-up program available under the National Immunisation Program for a further 2 years until 31 October 2023.

The program extension will allow those who missed or delayed vaccination due to pandemic restrictions or other reasons, extra time to get vaccinated with Zostavax® to protect against shingles disease.

Shingles vaccination with the Zostavax® vaccine is free under the National Immunisation Program for people aged 70. The catch-up program offered to people aged 71-79 years was due to end on 31 October 2021. 

To read the full announcement, please click on the link below.
National Immunisation Program: Shingles vaccination catch-up program extended


Provisional determination granted to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine (COMIRNATY) - for use in children 5-11 years of age

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has granted provisional determination to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, Comirnaty™ as part of an application process to lower the approved age limit of vaccine administration from 12 years and above, to children 5 to 11 years.

Provisional determination is the first step in the provisional registration pathway. The provisional pathway for registration provides a formal and transparent mechanism for speeding up the registration of promising new medicines based on preliminary clinical data. Having provisional determination does not mean that provisional registration will be granted.

To read more follow the link below:
Provisional determination granted to Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine (COMIRNATY) - for use in children 5-11 years of age


A recording is now available from The Alfred’s community information session on COVID-19 vaccinations and fertility

A webinar recording is now available from The Alfred’s community information session on COVID-19 vaccinations and fertility which was held on Thursday 7 October.

In this session, Alfred Health Infectious diseases physician and immunisation expert Prof Michelle Giles is joined by A/Prof Kate Stern, Head of Reproductive Services at The Royal Women's Hospital to discuss vaccination and fertility. They explain in detail how the vaccines work and answer questions from the community around fertility issues.

The full recording is available via the link below:

The Alfred community discussion 7 October


WHO recommends groundbreaking malaria vaccine for children at risk

The World Health Organization (WHO) is recommending widespread use of the RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) malaria vaccine among children in sub-Saharan Africa and in other regions with moderate to high P. falciparum malaria transmission. The recommendation is based on results from an ongoing pilot programme in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi that has reached more than 800 000 children since 2019.

According to the WHO, malaria remains a primary cause of childhood illness and death in sub-Saharan Africa where more than 260 000 African children under the age of five die from malaria annually.

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus commented “This is a historic moment. The long-awaited malaria vaccine for children is a breakthrough for science, child health and malaria control. Using this vaccine on top of existing tools to prevent malaria could save tens of thousands of young lives each year.”

WHO recommends that the RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine be used for the prevention of P. falciparum malaria in children living in regions with moderate to high transmission as defined by WHO.  In addition to this, RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine should be provided in a schedule of 4 doses in children from 5 months of age for the reduction of malaria disease and burden.

To read the extract in full, please click on the link below:
WHO recommends groundbreaking malaria vaccine for children at risk


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?  


The Age: Pfizer and Moderna Covid vaccines now available to all Australians over 60

Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced that from Friday, 1 October Australians aged 60 and over will be able to get Pfizer and Moderna regardless of where they live, expanding vaccine choice for more than 300,000 older people who have been waiting to get vaccinated.

In addition to this, it has also been announced that Victoria will receive an extra 88,900 Moderna doses to assist in state clinics to focus on under 60s, while GP and pharmacies will focus vaccinating those 60 and over.

To read the article in full, please click on the link below:
The Age: Pfizer and Moderna Covid vaccines now available to all Australians over 60


Victorian Government COVID-19 Vaccination Enhancement Grants

The Victorian Government is offering COVID-19 Vaccination Enhancement Grants to pharmacies and general practices interested in maximising their capacity to deliver vaccines across identified geographic areas at higher risk of COVID-19.

The grants are designed to support primary care providers to utilise their full vaccine allocations and to confidently promote access in their local communities as well as fund additional workforce or operational costs associated with maximising COVID-19 vaccine administration.

To find out more information about the grants available, please click on the link below.
Victorian Government COVID-19 Vaccination Enhancement Grants


Moderna pharmacy appointments available via online booking platforms

As community pharmacies begin administering Moderna vaccines across the country, listed below are two available booking platforms that may assist with locating your nearest community pharmacy, and their availability for a vaccine appointment.

MVEC are not affiliated with the sites and the information should be used as a guide only.

You can view the booking platforms via the links below.
Find a Pharmacy
Covid19Nearme