New immunisation reference page: COVID-19 vaccines: frequently asked questions

MVEC's COVID-19 vaccine FAQ’s have been designed to address common queries relating to COVID-19 vaccines, and include information on the vaccine development process, priority groups, vaccine effectiveness, storage, administration and safety.

This page will be updated on a regular basis as further information becomes available.

MVEC: COVID-19 vaccines: frequently asked questions


New immunisation reference page: Vaccine-associated enhanced disease (VAED)

With hundreds of COVID-19 vaccine candidates in various stages of development and approval, an understanding of any potentially serious adverse events is vital to ensure vaccine acceptance and confidence.

Our new reference page explores vaccine-associated enhanced disease (VAED). It occurs when a more severe presentation of disease develops in an individual who has previously been immunised, compared with when an infection occurs without prior vaccination. VAED has previously been associated with dengue fever infection; RSV, MERS and SARS-CoV-1 vaccine candidates; as well as a measles virus.

It is a theoretical risk only when considering COVID-19 vaccine candidates however as a result, the possibility of VAED has been closely monitored during all stages of clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

For further information please refer to our reference page:

MVEC: Vaccine-associated enhanced disease (VAED)

 

 


TGA provisionally approves Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

Following a thorough and independent review, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has found that the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine candidate, Comirnaty, meets the strict safety and efficacy standards required for provisional approval. It is now provisionally approved for use in those aged 16 years or older for active immunisation to prevent COVID-19 disease.

For more information please refer to the links below:

TGA provisionally approves Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 vaccine: Pfizer Australia - COMIRNATY BNT162b2 (mRNA)

For more information on the provisional pathway of vaccine approval, please refer to our reference page below:

MVEC: Provisional registration of COVID-19 vaccine(s) in Australia


TGA grants additional provisional determination for a COVID-19 vaccine

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has granted provisional determination to Biocelect Pty Ltd (on behalf of Novavax Inc.) for their COVID-19 vaccine candidate

Granting provisional determination means that Biocelect (on behalf of Novavax) is now eligible to apply for provisional registration. Following the provisional pathway provides a formal and transparent mechanism for speeding up the registration of promising new medicines with preliminary clinical data.

Provisional determination is only granted once the TGA has considered all eligibility criteria, including evidence of a plan to submit comprehensive clinical data.

You can read the press release from the TGA below:

TGA grants additional provisional determination for a COVID-19 vaccine

For more information on the process of COVID-19 vaccine provisional approval please refer to our reference page:

MVEC: Provisional registration of COVID-19 vaccine(s) in Australia


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