BBC: A 70-year-old system could help us prepare a bird flu vaccine for humans

There is a current global animal pandemic of avian influenza, but the virus does not yet have the ability to spread efficiently in humans. Should this change, there are systems in place to produce a human vaccine for bird flu. 

This month in Victoria, a human case of avian influenza was detected in a recently returned traveller. 

Read more about avian flu vaccine preparedness at BBC: A 70-year-old system could help us prepare a bird flu vaccine for humans. 


Victorian Department of Health: Recent health alerts

In the last fortnight the Victorian Department of Health has issued health alerts relating to measles and COVID-19.

On 10 May an alert was issued regarding an increase in COVID-19 activity, resulting in an increase in hospitalisations. The Department suggests six steps to stay ahead of COVID-19:

  1. wear a mask
  2. get vaccinated
  3. let fresh air in
  4. get tested
  5. stay at home
  6. take antivirals if eligible.

You can read more about the COVID-19 alert on the Health Department’s website.

On 11 May, then updated on 17 May, alerts were issued relating to two separate cases of measles in returned overseas travellers. Measles is highly infectious. Visit the Health Department’s website for more information including a list of exposure sites.

MVEC:COVID-19
MVEC:麻疹


The Conversation: Flu vaccines are no longer free for all under-12s in NZ

After free flu vaccines were funded for children under 12 in 2022, funding in New Zealand has now been cut back meaning only high-risk children aged 6 months to under 4 years are eligible for free vaccines.

In Australia, all children aged 6 months to under 5 years are eligible for free influenza vaccination. Annual flu vaccination is recommended for all Australians aged over 6 months.

Read about the impact of New Zealand’s funded influenza vaccine program in The Conversation: Flu vaccines are no longer free for all under-12s in NZ.

MVEC:流感


The Conversation: Too many Australians aren’t getting a flu vaccine. Why, and what can we do about it?

Holly Seale from the School of Population Health, UNSW Sydney examines the rates of influenza vaccine uptake in Australia so far in 2024, and explores solutions to rates that are lowers than at the same point last year.

The Conversation: Too many Australians aren’t getting a flu vaccine. Why, and what can we do about it?


WHO prequalifies new dengue vaccine

On 10 May 2024, the World Health Organization (WHO) approved a new vaccine for dengue prevention. The vaccine, called Q-denga or TAK-003 is a live-attenuated vaccine containing weakened versions of the four serotypes of the virus that cause dengue.

WHO recommends the use of TAK-003 in children aged 6 to 16 years in settings with high dengue burden and transmission intensity. The vaccine should be administered in a 2-dose schedule with a 3-month interval between doses.

TAK-003 is the second dengue vaccine to be prequalified by WHO (the first was Dengvaxia, or CYD-TDV). WHO prequalification of medicines is a service provided by WHO to assess the quality, safety and efficacy of medicinal products. Prequalification is intended to give aid and international procurement agencies the choice of a wide range of quality medicines for bulk purchase in resource-limited countries. 

Read more on the WHO website: WHO prequalifies new dengue vaccine


Expansion of the National Immunisation Program Vaccinations in Pharmacy (NIPVIP) Program

As of 29 April, the NIPVIP program has been expanded to allow pharmacies to claim payment for the administration of National Immunisation Program (NIP) vaccinations in residential aged care and disability homes.

Read more on the Department of Health and Aged Care website
MVEC: Launch of the National Immunisation Program Vaccinations in Pharmacy (NIPVIP) Program (February 2024)


ABC: AstraZeneca withdraws COVID-19 vaccine citing a decline in demand

AstraZeneca has commenced a global withdrawal of the COVID-19 vaccine Vaxzevria, which has not been available in Australia since March 2023.

The withdrawal is due to a surplus of available updated vaccines, which has caused a decline in demand for Vaxzevria.

Read more at ABC: AstraZeneca withdraws COVID-19 vaccine citing a decline in demand

MVEC:COVID-19
MVEC: Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS)


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