The Times of Israel: Israel expands vaccination campaign to teens aged 16-18

Israel have expanded their COVID-19 vaccination program to include teenagers aged ≥ 16 years, with the first vaccines being given in this age group on January 23.

Initial immunisation in Israel began in December 2020, prioritising health care workers, the elderly and other at-risk groups. To date, 2.5 million people have received a dose of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, with 900 thousand of those, also having received their second dose.

To read more, follow the link below:

The Times of Israel: Israel expands vaccination campaign to teens ages 16-18


COVAX announces new agreement, plans for first deliveries

The COVAX Facility has announced the signing of an advance purchase agreement for up to 40 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

COVAX is on track to deliver at least 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of the 2021, including at least 1.3 billion doses to 92 lower income countries.

For more information please follow the link below:

Gavi: COVAX announces new agreement, plans for first deliveries


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


Mobilising Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine workforce

The Australian Government have confirmed that COVID-19 vaccine delivery will be carried out by hospitals, general practices, state and commonwealth vaccination clinics, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations and Pharmacies.

To supplement our already established vaccine workforce, and assist in vaccine delivery to outreach locations, Aspen Medical, Healthcare Australia, International SOS, and Sonic Clinical Services have been contracted to support each jurisdiction in their vaccine program.

To read the announcement in full, follow the below link:

Mobilising Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine workforce


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


COVID-19 vaccine rollout: Primary care participation in Phase 1b–call for expressions of interest from General Practices

In preparation for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in Australia, accredited general practices are invited to express their interest in participating in Phase 1b of the COVID-19 Vaccination Program.

Phase 1b of the COVID-19 Vaccination Program is dedicated to delivering 14.8 million doses of the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine (dependant on TGA approval).

The Phase 1b priority populations include:
- People aged 70 years and over
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults
- Critical and high-risk workers including defence, police, fire, emergency services and meat
processing
- Health care workers other than those prioritised in Phase 1a, including (but not limited to)
hospitals, general practices, pharmacists, allied health, and other healthcare services in the
community
- People at increased risk of severe disease

For further information, including how to register your interest, please follow the link below:

COVID-19 vaccine rollout: Primary care participation in Phase 1b–call for expressions of interest from General Practices


CNN: How some states are administering Covid-19 vaccines at twice the speed of others

Data from the CDC reveals that of the 31 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine that have been distributed to the various jurisdictions in the United States, only 39% (12.2 million doses) have actually been administered. Those states with the highest vaccination rates have suggested that preparation, communication and strategic planning have been vital in vaccine rollout.

To read more follow the link below:

CNN: How some states are administering Covid-19 vaccines at twice the speed of others


ABC radio: Norway to continue using Pfizer's COVID vaccine despite elderly deaths

Dr Steinar Madsen, Medical Director of the Norwegian Medicines Agency, has been interviewed by ABC radio to discuss the recent reports of deaths in elderly people following immunisation with the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Whilst investigations are underway, he stresses that side effects are rare and Norway will continue with the use of this vaccine as part of their COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

To listen to the interview, please follow the link below:

ABC radio: Norway to continue using Pfizer's COVID vaccine despite elderly deaths


TGA: Norwegian investigation of COVID-19 vaccination risks for elderly, very frail patients

There have been recent reports from Norway of over 30 deaths out of the 40,000 elderly people who have been vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. The deaths were associated with fever, nausea and diarrhoea following vaccination. Adverse events following immunisation like these are expected following this vaccine and are usually short-lived. The recorded deaths were in very frail patients whose life expectancy was weeks to months.

The TGA is working closely with European regulators to investigate these reports further and will determine whether product information for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine should include warnings about risks to frail, elderly or terminally ill people.

Read more in the TGA’s statement via the link below:

TGA: Norwegian investigation of COVID-19 vaccination risks for elderly, very frail patients


The Washington Post: The coronavirus-free island nation of Palau could soon vaccinate almost all its people

With a population of close to 18,000 people, the tiny island nation of Palau has managed to remain free of COVID-19 disease. As part of a "free association" agreement with the United States, Palau has access to the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, and aims to immunise almost its entire population by April 2021.

To read more, follow the below link:

The Washington Post: The coronavirus-free island nation of Palau could soon vaccinate almost all its people