Local transmission of mpox in Victoria

On 29 April 2024, the Victorian Department of Health issued an alert regarding local transmission of mpox in Victoria. Three new locally acquired cases have been reported.

Mpox is a viral infection that can lead to severe illness and require hospitalisation. Mpox symptoms can occur up to 21 days after exposure. Anyone who has been in close and usually prolonged intimate contact with someone with mpox is at risk.

Free vaccination is available for those who meet certain eligibility criteria.

MVEC: Mpox

Victorian Department of Health Alert: Local transmission of mpox in Victoria

WHO: Nigeria begins rollout of new Men5CV vaccine

Nigeria is the first country in the world to roll out the new Men5CV vaccine. Men5CV protects recipients against five strains of the Neisseria meningitidis bacteria (A, C, W, Y and X).  

Nigeria is one of the 26 meningitis-endemic countries of Africa, in the area known as the Meningitis Belt. Between 1 October 2023 and 11 March 2024, Nigeria reported 1,742 suspected meningococcal C cases, including 101 confirmed cases and 153 deaths. 

The vaccination campaign aims to reach more than one million people aged 1 to 29 years. 

WHO: In world first, Nigeria introduces new 5-in-1 vaccine against meningitis

WHO: 'Global hepatitis report 2024' highlights number of deaths due to hepatitis increasing

According to the World Health Organization's (WHO) 'Global hepatitis report 2024', viral hepatitis and tuberculosis were the second leading causes of death among communicable diseases in 2022, after COVID-19.

WHO estimates approximately 1.3 million people died of viral hepatitis in 2022 and 6,000 people are newly infected with viral hepatitis each day. An estimated 12% of the disease burden is among children.  

WHO: Global hepatitis report 2024

Chemical Communications: Developing a vaccine for street drug xylazine

Researchers are developing a vaccine which blocks the toxic effects of the drug xylazine, a drug which has been a cause of many overdose deaths in the illicit drug trade in the USA and the UK.  

The vaccine has worked in mice, although no human trials have been undertaken. The study findings have been published in the journal Chemical Communications.

Updated immunisation reference page: Q fever

MVEC has updated its Q fever reference page to reflect the recent closure of the Australian Q Fever Register.

All Q fever vaccines administered should now be reported exclusively to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). Those who have previously been vaccinated against Q fever, or who have previously registered their natural immunity on the Australian Q Fever Register, should ensure their AIR record is up to date.

MVEC: Q fever records now to be added to AIR 
MVEC: Q fever

State-based influenza vaccine programs announced in Qld and WA

Queensland and Western Australia have each announced free influenza vaccine programs for 2024.

In Queensland, all residents aged 6 months and older can access the influenza vaccine for free in 2024. The program will conclude on 30 September 2024.

In Western Australia, free influenza vaccines will be available for people aged 6 months and older during the months of May and June.

Influenza vaccination is funded through the National Immunisation Program (NIP) across Australia for:

  • trẻ em từ 6 tháng đến < 5 tuổi
  • all adults aged 65 years and older
  • specific populations aged 5 to 64 years who are greater risk of devleoping complications from influenza.

Queensland Health: 2024 Free flu vaccination program
Government of Western Australia: Free flu jabs available throughout May and June 2024

Victorian Department of Health: Nurse immunisers, pharmacist immunisers and ATSIHP immunisers approved to administer Arexvy

In Victoria, nurse immunisers, pharmacist immunisers and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioner (ATSIHP) immunisers are authorised to administer the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine Arexvy.

RSV is a virus that causes both upper and lower respiratory tract infections. Arexvy is used to prevent RSV in people aged 60 years and older, and is recommended for:

  • All adults aged 75 years and older
  • First Nations adults aged 60 years and older
  • adults aged 60 to 74 years with certain medical conditions.

Read more about Arexvy and RSV on our RSV reference page.

Q fever records now to be added to AIR

From 15 April 2024, immunisation providers can report Q fever vaccines (Q-Vax) and natural immunity information to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).

Các Australian Q Fever Register will be closed. Those with an existing Q fever record can access their Q fever vaccination/natural immunity eStatement via the Australian Q Fever Register and take it to an immunisation provider to be reported to AIR.

Individuals can access the Australian Q Fever Register, including their Q Fever eStatement, until 30 June 2025.

MVEC: Q fever

TGA: Abrysvo RSV vaccine registered for use

On 20 March 2024, the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine Abrysvo was registered by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Abrysvo is indicated for:

  • pregnant people between 24 and 36 weeks gestation for the prevention of lower respiratory tract disease caused by RSV in infants from birth to 6 months of age 
  • adults aged 60 years and older for the prevention of lower repiratory tract disease caused by RSV.

Abrysvo is a recombinant respiratory syncytial virus pre-fusion F protein vaccine. Guidance on its use is yet to come.

TGA: Guidance and resources on Abrysvo

ABC: Q fever case spike in Qld drives push for more accessible vaccine

As reported by ABC in March, Queensland has reported 89 Q fever infections since the beginning of 2024, an increase of almost 90% compared to the same time in 2023.

Q fever is caused by infection with the Coxiella burnetii bacteria.  Bacterial reservoirs for human infection primarily include cattle, sheep, and goats; however, other animals can also be infected.  Transmission occurs via the inhalation of infected aerosols or contaminated soil, dusts or water droplets.

The vaccine Q-Vax is recommended for those aged over 15 years in specific high-risk occupational groups. Q-Vax is available for private purchase. Researchers in Queensland are developing a new vaccine which they hope will be more accessible.

ABC: Q fever case spike in Qld drives renewed push for more accessible vaccine for ‘nasty’ bacterial disease (March 2024)
ABC: Q fever vaccine funding boosted as the hunt for a better solution continues (August 2020)
MVEC: Q fever