Researchers at RCH show no association in vaccine uptake as a result of mandatory vaccination policies

Researchers from the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne's Specialist Immunisation Clinic and Drop in Centre have demonstrated mandatory immunisation policies 'No Jab, No Pay' and 'No Jab, No Play' show no association in vaccine uptake. Whilst the policies motivated attendance to a tertiary service, they don't appear to be changing vaccination behaviour as was the intention, with further evaluation required. 

Read more here:

Vaccine: Impact of Australian mandatory ‘No Jab, No Pay’ and ‘No Jab, No Play’ immunisation policies on immunisation services, parental attitudes to vaccination and vaccine uptake, in a tertiary paediatric hospital, the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne


NCIRS webinar - NIP changes, what you need to know

On the 1st July 2020 important changes to the National Immunisation Program (NIP) and recommendations for pneumococcal, meningococcal and Hepatitis A vaccinations will come into effect. 

NCIRS hosted a webinar about these changes which is now available to view online:

NCIRS: Upcoming NIP changes: what you need to know 


Flu deaths prevented as cases plummet amid coronavirus lockdowns, AMA says

New data as reported by the ABC suggest that social distancing measures, reduced travel and other restrictions implemented in the COVID-19 pandemic appear to have resulted in a sharp decline in the number of influenza cases. 

Dr Chris Moy of the Australian Medical Association is careful to note that we may have actually delayed an influenza outbreak, but still believes the number of influenza cases will be less as we have a far more immunised population this year. 

Read more here: 

ABC: Flu deaths prevented as cases plummet amid coronavirus lockdowns, AMA says 

The MVEC team strongly support vaccination as a way to protect from seasonal influenza, read more in our MVEC Influenza vaccine recommendations


NCIRS webinar: Upcoming National Immunisation Program changes: what you need to know

On the 1st July 2020 important changes to the National Immunisation Program (NIP) and recommendations for pneumococcal, meningococcal and hepatitis A vaccinations will take effect.

NCIRS are hosting a webinar about these changes on June 16th at 1pm (AEST). Register for the webinar at the link below:

NCIRS: Upcoming NIP changes: what you need to know 


Yellow fever vaccination in egg-allergic children

Yellow Fever is a disease transmitted by mosquito vector, which can lead to serious complications or even death. Treatment is supportive, with vaccination being the most important strategy in preventing the disease; providing immunity in more than 95% of people who receive the vaccine. Currently, many guidelines advise that egg anaphylaxis is a contraindication to receiving a yellow fever vaccine (YFV), with the Australian Immunisation Handbook recommending people requiring the vaccine discuss this with an immunologist or allergist due to the YFV containing egg ovalbumin.

Due to the serious nature of the disease, some countries requiring proof of immunisation as an entry requirement and the widely varying guidelines pertaining to YFV in egg-allergic people; researchers from the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS), and the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, have published a case series proposing that skin testing may not be required for patients with mild egg allergy, and that a 2-step graded challenge under medical supervision is a safe alternative.

Read more about their findings and recommendations here:

The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal: Yellow Fever Vaccination in EGG Allergic Children

NCIRS: Yellow Fever vaccination in egg-allergic children


Upcoming changes to the NIP from July 1, 2020

On July 1, 2020, there will be several changes to the National Immunisation Program (NIP):

Eligibility for free NIP pneumococcal vaccines (Prevenar 13®, Pneumovax 23®)

  • Ceasing Pneumovax 23® for healthy non-Indigenous adults at 65 years of age
  • Commencing Prevenar 13® for healthy non-Indigenous adults ≥70 years of age
  • Commencing Prevenar 13® for Indigenous adults at ≥50 years of age plus Pneumovax 23® x 2 doses in a lifetime
  • Commencing Prevenar 13® for >12 months of age (including adolescents and adults) with newly diagnosed risk conditions plus Pneumovax 23® x 2 doses in a lifetime
  • New eligibility criteria for risk conditions

Eligibility for free NIP meningococcal B (Bexsero®) vaccine:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants receive 2 primary doses of Bexsero® and 1 booster dose – 2, 4 and 12 months of age
  • Bexsero® catch-up is available for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children <2 years of age for 3 years until 30 June 2023
  • Some people with risk conditions will be eligible for Bexsero®

Read more about the changes here:

Clinical update: National Immunisation Program (NIP) schedule changes from 1 July 2020 – advice for vaccination providers


Who's leading the race? A guide to coronavirus vaccines in the pipeline

This article from the ABC takes a closer look at some of the candidates in the race to making an effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. It looks at the ten vaccines currently in human trials (as at May 24, 2020). 

Different kinds of vaccines in development are also discussed, both an experimental genetic vaccine as well as a viral vector vaccine; and which stage of trials these vaccines are currently at.

Read more here:

ABC: Who's leading the race? A guide to coronavirus vaccines in the pipeline

Stay tuned for our latest podcast series launching this week, COVID19 Road to a vaccine. Associate Professor Nigel Crawford, Director of SAEFVIC, will be discussing the different steps involved in creating a new vaccine with global vaccine experts. 

 


Hepatitis A outbreak in Victoria

There is an ongoing hepatitis A outbreak in Victoria largely among people use drugs (primarily by injection) and people experiencing homelessness. According to the Department of Health, as of the 6th May 2020, there have been 56 confirmed cases and 6 possible cases associated with this outbreak since mid 2019. 

In order to control this outbreak a hepatitis A vaccination program targeting affected people groups (people who use drugs and those experiencing homelessness) will be available until the 31st August, 2020.

Hepatitis B vaccine should also be offered as hepatitis B and C have a high rate of prevalence among people who inject drugs. Influenza vaccine should also be offered. 

Read the full Department of Health advisory here: Hepatitis A outbreak

 


New NCIRS resource - Influenza vaccination during COVID-19 - FAQs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are at an increased risk of serious disease when they contract influenza. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever that Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander people are accessing an influenza vaccine. The influenza vaccine is funded under the National Immunisation Program for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6-months and over. 

NCIRS have created a new FAQ resource addressing questions most frequently asked by people in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community:

NCIRS: Influenza vaccination during COVID-19 - FAQs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people


Are children with asthma at a greater risk of severe disease with COVID-19?

The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) are conducting extensive research into why children are more mildly affected by COVID-19. They are also investigating whether chronic health conditions such as asthma increase the risk of severe disease.

Read more about how children with asthma may be affected by COVID-19 at the link below:

MCRI: COVID-19 and asthma: what are the risks for children?