Flinders University Alumni publication featuring A/Prof Nigel Crawford: Providing the vital boost for us to fight COVID-19

MVEC’s Associate Professor Nigel Crawford was featured in the Flinders University College of Medicine and Public Health Alumni magazine regarding his significant contribution to Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout. As the current chair of the Australian Technical Advisory Group for Immunisation (ATAGI), Nigel discusses his role in steering Australia’s uptake of COVID-19 vaccines, including effective communication and the ability to remain flexible when responding to and adapting vaccine advice for the general public. 

To read the full article, follow the link below.

Flinders University Alumni publication featuring A/Prof Nigel Crawford: Providing the vital boost for us to fight COVID-19 


Expanded ATAGI recommendations on winter COVID-19 booster doses for people at increased risk of severe COVID-19

ATAGI have updated their COVID-19 winter booster dose recommendations to include additional risk groups. The groups now eligible for winter booster doses include: 

  • Any adult aged 65 years and older  
  • Aged care or disability care residents aged 16 years and older  
  • Individuals aged 16 years and older with severe immunocompromise 
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults aged 50 years and older.  
  • Individuals from 16 years of age who have complex, chronic or severe conditions [refer to page 3 of ATAGI statement below] 

COVID-19 winter booster doses are not currently recommended for other groups including healthy people aged 16 to 64 years, healthy individuals with occupational risk factors (eg. healthcare workers) or pregnant women without additional risk factors.  

mRNA vaccines are the preferred option for booster doses with Comirnaty (Pfizer) available to give from 16 years of age and Spikevax (Moderna) from 18 years. In people aged 18 years or older with a contraindication to mRNA vaccines Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) may be considered. Nuvaxovid (Novavax) can be used in individuals 18 years or older in circumstances where no other COVID-19 vaccine is suitable. 

To read the updated recommendations in full, please click on the link below:
Expanded ATAGI recommendations on winter COVID-19 booster doses for people at increased risk of severe COVID-19


ABC: A surge in influenza cases in Queensland prompts doctors to issue vaccine warning for children and vulnerable groups

Experts warn that children are increasingly more vulnerable to influenza disease this year. MVEC’s paediatric infectious disease specialist Dr Angela Berkhout explains that children, particularly those under two years of age have low levels of natural immunity to flu as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.  

While flu season has yet to peak, hospitals in Queensland have already experienced an influx in the number of flu patients requiring hospital admission, including intensive care. This article explores key considerations for vaccinating children, seniors over the age of 65 years and other vulnerable groups.  

To read the full article, follow the link below:  

ABC: A surge in influenza cases in Queensland prompts doctors to issue vaccine warning for children and vulnerable groups

For the more information on influenza vaccines and the 2022 influenza season please see our resources below: 

MVEC: Influenza 

MVEC: Influenza FAQs

 


New immunisation reference page: Febrile seizures (Febrile convulsions)

Febrile seizures are typically triggered by a sudden rise in temperature and more commonly occur in very young children.  Febrile seizures can be classified as simple or complex, with 1 in 30 children experiencing a febrile seizure at some point during their childhood.  

Although vaccines can cause fevers, febrile seizures following vaccination are not common.  

Our new reference page provides an overview of febrile seizures and outlines the recommendations following a vaccine proximate seizure.  

To read more follow the link below: 

MVEC: Febrile seizures (Febrile convulsions)


ATAGI Advice on mRNA COVID-19 vaccine dose intervals and COVID-19 vaccination post infection

ATAGI have provided updated advice on mRNA COVID-19 vaccine dose intervals and COVID-19 vaccination post infection. 

It is now recommended that the dose interval between primary doses of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines should be extended to 8 weeks, with the extended dose interval shown to improve effectiveness and immune response to vaccination, as well as potentially also reduce the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis. 

ATAGI have also recommended that COVID-19 vaccination is deferred 3 months following COVID-19 infection to optimise protection.

To read the updated recommendations in full, please click on the link below. 

ATAGI Advice on mRNA COVID-19 vaccine dose intervals and COVID-19 vaccination post infection


SMH: The flu shot: when is it safe to get it after having COVID?

With flu season underway in Australia and an increasing number of cases already confirmed, people are encouraged not to delay their yearly influenza vaccine, which is recommended for anyone 6 months of age and over. 

The article features MVEC’s A/Prof Nigel Crawford, who addresses the key considerations such as ideal timing for the influenza vaccination, considerations for people with underlying medical conditions, advice for parents regarding children, and when to get the influenza vaccine post COVID-19 infection. 

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

SMH: The flu shot: when is it safe to get it after having COVID?

For the more information on influenza vaccines and the 2022 influenza season please see our resources below: 

MVEC: Influenza 

MVEC: Influenza FAQs

 


Mandatory influenza vaccination for healthcare workers

As of the 8th April, 2022, influenza vaccination will become a requirement for healthcare workers under the Health Services Amendment (Mandatory Vaccination of Healthcare Workers) Act 2020.

Healthcare workers subject to these Directions are required to be vaccinated against influenza by 15 August 2022 and annually thereafter.

For further information please refer to Department of Health: Vaccination for healthcare workers


CDC: Hospitalizations of Children Aged 5–11 Years with Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19

A recent CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) analysed COVID-19 associated hospitalisation rates in children aged 5–11 years during the Omicron-predominant period and the Delta-predominant period.

Hospitalisation rates in unvaccinated children were approximately double those of vaccinated children. Severe disease was more likely to occur in children with a history of diabetes and obesity, with one-third of hospitalised children during the Omicron period having had an underlying neurological condition. Racial and ethnic minority groups were disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Further, the analysis suggests that vaccination of children aged 5-11 years reduces the risk for infection, protects against COVID-19–associated illness and prevents multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children.

To read the full report, click on the link below.

CDC: Hospitalizations of Children Aged 5–11 Years with Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19


The Conversation: COVID-19 vaccines for the youngest children may be inching closer to authorization – a pediatrician explains how they’re being tested

COVID-19 vaccines offer safe and effective protection against severe disease and are strongly recommended for everyone over the age of 5 years. While children often experience milder symptoms of disease than adults, US data obtained during the Omicron surge in cases shows a significant spike in the rates of hospitalisation in children under 5.

This article explores the immune response to COVID-19 vaccines in children of different age groups, the safety and efficacy considerations for vaccinating children under 5, and an approximate timeline for next steps regarding this cohort.

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

The Conversation: COVID-19 vaccines for the youngest children may be inching closer to authorization – a pediatrician explains how they’re being tested

 


ATAGI statement on use of booster doses in adolescents aged 12-15 years

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has released a statement on booster doses in adolescents aged 12-15 years.

Following their review of evidence on the benefits and risks of a booster dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents in Australia aged 12-15 years, ATAGI does not recommend that adolescents aged 12-15 years need to receive a booster dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and will continue to review international evidence on efficacy of a booster in this age group.

ATAGI continue to strongly recommend vaccination of all young people aged 5 to 15 years with 2 primary doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, including those who may have previously had COVID-19. 3 primary doses are recommended for those in this age group who are severely immunocompromised.

For more information please refer to the link below:

ATAGI statement on use of booster doses in adolescents aged 12-15 years