ATAGI update following weekly COVID-19 meeting – 12 January 2022

Following recent data, ATAGI recommends that severely immunocompromised children between the ages of 5 to 11 years receive a 3rd primary dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to optimise their protection against COVID-19 infection.

Current data has not identified any concerning safety signals in this cohort. ATAGI continues to review and closely monitor reports regarding the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine in this age group.

This statement provides a concise summary of the January ATAGI meeting, including the latest recommendations and considerations regarding the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5 to 11 years.

To read the full statement, follow the link below:
ATAGI update following weekly COVID-19 meeting - 12 January 2022


ABC: Should I mix or match my booster? Your COVID-19 vaccine questions answered

ATAGI recommends that everyone aged 18 years and over to receive a booster dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of which vaccine they received for their primary course.

With over 5 million people now triple jabbed, Australia’s COVID-19 booster rollout is well underway.

This article explores some of the clinical data and considerations regarding the COVID-19 boosters.

To read the full article, follow the link below.
Should I mix or match my booster? Your COVID-19 vaccine questions answered


CDC Study Shows Flu Vaccination Prevents Severe Flu Illness in U.S. Children

According to CDC flu surveillance systems, flu season has started in many parts of the USA with continued flu activity expected over the coming weeks, with most flu detected to date as H3N2 flu found in children and young adults.

A new CDC study has shown that flu vaccination can protect children against serious flu illness even when they had been infected with a flu virus that was antigenically different from the vaccine virus.

The CDC study reports that “flu vaccination reduced the risk of severe flu in children by 78% against similar flu A viruses and 47% against flu A viruses that had drifted from the vaccine virus. Further, the vaccine was 76% effective at preventing life-threatening influenza, which included invasive mechanical ventilation, CPR, and other severe complications including death”. In addition to this, the study highlighted that some people who are vaccinated still get sick, but the vaccination can decrease illness severity.

To read the article in full, please click on the link below:
CDC Study Shows Flu Vaccination Prevents Severe Flu Illness in U.S. Children


New episode of The Good GP podcast available: COVID-19 vaccination in children

A new episode of The Good GP podcast is now available. In this COVID-19 vaccination episode, The Good GP interviews Dr Angie Berkhout, paediatric infectious diseases physician at the Royal Children's Hospital, on the COVID-19 vaccination rollout in children aged 5-11.

The interview covers the Pfizer vaccination available for children, schedules, efficacy, contraindications and precautions. They also bust some common myths regarding the COVID-19 vaccine in children.

To listen to the podcast, please click on the link below:
The Good GP podcast episode available: COVID-19 vaccination in children


WHO: 2021 has been tumultuous but we know how to end the pandemic and promote health for all in 2022

In 2021, the global health system faced significant challenges perpetuated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Proving that when health is at risk, everything is at risk. However, there have still been medical breakthroughs and progress including new COVID-19 treatments, the introduction of the world’s first malaria vaccine and the near eradication of polio disease. 

The year 2022 brings a hopeful glimpse to end the COVID-19 pandemic, through countries working together, pushing for greater vaccine equity to reach a 70% global vaccination rate.  

In this article, the WHO reflects on the challenges and triumphs of the global health system throughout 2021 and outlines some positive opportunities for the coming new year. 

To read the full article, follow the link below.  

2021 has been tumultuous but we know how to end the pandemic and promote health for all in 2022


CDC: COVID-19 Vaccine Safety in Children Aged 5-11 Years November 3 – December 19 2021

Following the administration of approximately 8 million Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses in children between the ages of 5 to 11 years, local and systemic reactions were closely monitored and assessed. The incoming data was reported to VAERS and v-safe, the national passive vaccine safety surveillance system, jointly managed by the CDC and FDA. During the span of 3 November to 19 December, 4,249 reports were submitted, of which 97% were for nonserious adverse events.

For the most recent clinical data regarding the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in children aged 5 to 11 years, read the full VAERS report.

COVID-19 Vaccine Safety in Children Aged 5-11 Years November 3 – December 19 2021 

 


ATAGI Statement on the Omicron variant and the timing of COVID-19 booster vaccination

In response to the emergence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 disease and it's community transmission within Australia, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has updated recommendations for the timing of COVID-19 vaccine booster doses.

These updated recommendations are based on strong evidence indicating that booster doses are likely to increase protection against infection with the Omicron variant, as well as reassuring international data on the safety of administering early booster doses.

These recommendations include:

  • all adults (≥ 18 years) should receive a single booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine
  • booster doses can be administered as early as 3 months following the completion of a primary course
  • timely booster doses for pregnant women is recommended
  • immunocompromised individuals who have received a 3-dose primary course should also receive a booster dose 3 months after the date of their 3rd dose
  • Comirnaty (Pfizer) and Spikevax (Moderna) are the preferred brands for booster doses. Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) can be used as a booster dose for individuals with a contraindication to receiving Comirnaty or Spikevax.

ATAGI also encourages anyone aged 12 years or older who is unvaccinated to receive COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible.

To read the latest update in full please refer to

ATAGI Statement on the Omicron variant and the timing of COVID-19 booster vaccination


European Commission authorises fifth safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19

Nuvaxovid, a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Novavax, has become the fifth COVID-19 vaccine authorised for use in the European Union (EU). Following rigorous safety, efficacy and quality testing by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the European Commissions has granted a conditional marketing authorization (CMA) of the vaccine for its perceived benefits in providing protection against severe COVID-19 disease. 

 

To read the full statement, follow the link below: 

European Commission authorises fifth safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19

 

 


Pfizer and BioNTech provide update on ongoing studies of COVID-19 vaccine

Following a routine review examining the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech by the external Independent Data Monitoring Committee (DMC), data has demonstrated that whilst there were no safety concerns,  immunogenicity of a two dose primary course consisting of 3µg doses in the 6 to 24 month-old cohort was met with non-inferiority, but not in the 2 - 5 year old group.

The company has also announced that it will resume studies evaluating a third  3µg dose of COVID-19 vaccine in children 6 months to under 5 years of age in order to select the right dose to maximise the risk-benefit profile in this age group. 

For further information on this study and its findings, follow the link below:  

Pfizer and BioNTech provide update on ongoing studies of COVID-19 vaccine


The Sydney Morning Herald: Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster dose ‘appears protective against Omicron’

Following laboratory testing, data shows that whilst a two-dose primary course of the Spikevax (Moderna) vaccine resulted in a low generation of neutralising antibodies against the Omicron variant, a booster dose provided a 37-fold increase in neutralising antibodies. 

 

For more information on these findings refer to the full article via the link below:

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster dose ‘appears protective against Omicron’