ABC: Why a national shortage of cat vaccines may cause holiday havoc with pet owners

Due to an increase in pet adoption during the pandemic and manufacturing facilities shifting towards COVID-19 vaccine production, Australia is currently affected by a global shortage of cat vaccines. 

The shortage may mean cat owners have trouble booking their pets into catteries, if they’re not up to date with their vaccines. 

Read the ABC article in full

WHO on a return to trivalent influenza vaccines

Since there has been no detection of the naturally occurring B/Yamagata-lineage influenza virus since 2020, the opinion of the World Health Organization (WHO) influenza vaccine composition advisory committee is that the inclusion of B/Yamagata-lineage antigens in influenza vaccines is no longer warranted.

WHO recommends trivalent or quadrivalent influenza vaccines.

WHO Q&A on recommendations for 2024 south hemisphere composition of influenza vaccines 

WSPID Call to action: Ensuring fair prices for all vaccines for all countries with limited resources

World Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases (WSPID) is calling on governments and international organisations around the world to address vaccine price as a matter of urgency.

WSPID’s call to action aims to address the systemic issue of unaffordable vaccine prices, through a comprehensive, multi-stakeholder approach. 

Visit the WSPID website to learn more, read the call to action in full and to sign on.

Victorian Department of Health: Zostavax vaccine stock to be discarded

To avoid a shingles vaccine administration error, the Victorian Department of Health advises immunisation providers to immediately discard any remaining government supplied stock of Zostavax.

The national Shingrix vaccine program for shingles (also known as herpes zoster) was launched on 1 November 2023, replacing the previous nationally funded Zostavax program.

The MVEC zoster reference page includes vaccination guidelines and a commonly asked questions section.


Community pharmacist pilot program: travel vaccines and travel advice

药剂师免疫剂 are registered pharmacists who have completed 附加训练 in immunisation allowing them to administer approved vaccines to specified patient groups. 

In October 2023, a 12-month pilot program was launched further expanding the authority of approved community pharmacists to provide advice and some travel vaccines (hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, and polio).  

The purpose of this program is to increase access to affordable preventative healthcare as well as treatment for travel-related illness.

Victorian Department of Health: Victorian community pharmacist statewide pilot

Australian Immunisation Handbook: Update to recommendations for people who have recently received blood products

Last month, the Australian Immunisation Handbook updated the recommended time intervals for the vaccination of people who have recently received normal human immunoglobulin and other blood products.

The clinical guidance was updated to remove specific guidance regarding rotavirus, zoster and BCG, and to include guidance regarding live JE vaccines.

Immunisation providers should check the Handbook guidance before administering a live vaccine to someone who has received blood products or IVIG.

Australian Immunisation Handbook: Table. Recommened intervals between immunoglobulins or blood products, and measles-mumps-rubella, measles-mumps-rubella-varicella or varicella vaccination


MVEC: Live-attenuated vaccines and immunoglobulin or blood products

New NIP vaccine program: Shingrix

As of 1 November 2023, the new National Immunisation Program (NIP) Shingrix program has commenced.  

Shingrix is an inactivated vaccine used for the prevention of zoster (shingles). It has been registered for use in Australia since 2018 but until now it has only been available to purchase privately. 

Shingrix has replaces Zostavax on the NIP. Zostavax is a live zoster vaccine, which could not be administered to immunocompromised people. 

Shingrix is funded for: 

  • all people aged 65 years and over 
  • First Nations people aged 50 years and over 
  • people aged 18 years and over with certain immunocompromising conditions (history of haematopoietic stem cell transplant, solid organ transplant, blood cancer, and advanced or untreated HIV). 

MVEC: Zoster (shingles)

Australian Immunisation Handbook: New chapter on COVID-19

Today, 5 October 2023, the Department of Health and Aged Care has published a new chapter on COVID-19 in the Australian Immunisation Handbook.

In a major update, the new COVID-19 disease chapter consolidates the available COVID-19 clinical guidance material.

The chapter includes the following subsections:

  • Overview 
  • 建议 
  • Vaccines, dosage and administration 
  • 禁忌症与注意事项 
  • Adverse events 
  • Nature of the disease 
  • Clinical features 
  • 流行病学 
  • Vaccine information 
  • Transporting, storing and handling vaccines 
  • Public health management 
  • Variations from product information. 

Australian Immunisation Handbook: COVID-19

Nobel Prize awarded to mRNA vaccine researchers

Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman have received the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their role in the development of effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19.

Read about their work at The Nobel Prize: Discoveries concerning nucleoside base modifications that enabled the development of effective mRNA vaccines against COVID-19

WHO recommends new malaria vaccine

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended the new malaria vaccine R21/Matrix-M for the prevention of malaria in children.

The approval of the R21 vaccine is expected to result in sufficient vaccine supply to benefit all children living in areas where malaria is a public health risk.

The R21 vaccine is the second malaria vaccine to be recommended by WHO. In 2021, WHO recommended the RTS,S/AS01 vaccine. Both vaccines are safe and effective in preventing malaria in children.

疟疾每年导致超过 600,000 人死亡。 2021 年,估计有 2.47 亿例疟疾病例,其中 95% 病例发生在世卫组织非洲区域。 5 岁以下儿童是受疟疾影响最脆弱的群体。

Malaria vaccines have taken decades to develop due to the complicated structure of the malaria parasite. Earlier this year, Ghana was the first country to approve the R21 vaccine.

WHO: WHO recommends R21/Matrix-M vaccine for malaria prevention