Assessing and updating children and adult’s immunisations is important for managing their healthcare. People under 20 years of age and all refugee and humanitarian entrants are eligible for free catch up of age appropriates vaccines on the National Immunisation Program Schedule (NIP).
Catch-up vaccines should be provided as quickly as possible to provide optimal protection and all vaccines given in Australia or overseas should be entered onto the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR). There are a range of resources available to assist immunisation providers plan catch-up schedules:
Catch-up vaccination – Adolescents (Schools program)
Adolescents in Years 7 and 10 who missed receiving a vaccine at school during the school health team visit, can be given a free catch up dose up to their 20th birthday.
- Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (dTpa) (Year 7) – can be given at any time after the missed dose.
- Meningococcal ACWY (Year 10) - can be given at any time after the missed dose.
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV) (Year 7) -can be given from 1 December. HPV vaccines for student catch-up must be ordered from the Immunisation Unit using the HPV order form. Check the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) for previous doses of HPV to ensure minimum 6-month interval between doses.
Adverse Events Following Immunisation
An adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) is an unwanted or unexpected event following immunisation that may be related to the vaccine itself, its handling or administration, or may occur by coincidence, that is, regardless of the vaccine.
Vaccines may produce some unwanted side effects which are mostly mild and clear up quickly. Providing your clients with the Following vaccination – what to expect and what to do handout, alerts parents to these common side effects and how to treat them.
A very small number of people may have more serious reaction. These may include anaphylaxis, seizures and severe rash. It is not possible to identify every individual who might have a mild or serious reaction to a vaccine, although there are a few contraindications to some vaccines. By following recommendations on who and who should not receive particular vaccines, health practitioners minimise the risk of their patient’s having serious adverse effects from vaccination. More information can be found in the Australian Immunisation Handbook.
Surveillance of AEFI provides ongoing monitoring to detect population specific, rare or late onset adverse events not detected in in pre-licensure clinical trials. In the ACT, Adverse events following immunisation are notifiable under the ACT Public Health Act 1997: Public Health (Reporting of Notifiable Conditions) Code of Practice 2017 (No 1).
In the ACT, suspected AEFI should be reported to the Immunisation Unit, Health Protection Service using the Immunisation Adverse Event Reporting Form, or by contacting the Health Protection Service, Immunisation Unit on (02) 5124 9800. The Immunisation Unit reports all notifications to the Australian Adverse Drug Reaction System (ADRS) at the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Australia-wide annual reports on AEFI surveillance are published by the Australian Government.
For more information see the following links:
Special Immunisation Clinic
The Special Immunisation Clinic (SIC) is held monthly at the Paediatric Day Stay Unit in the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children. Referrals can be made by medical practitioners using the Special Immunisation Clinic Referral Form.
To be eligible, referrals must be for:
- vaccines funded under the National Immunisation Program (NIP) and
- children 16 years of age or younger
AND meet at least one of the following criteria:
- previous serious adverse event following immunisation (as determined by Public Health Physician or Public Health Registrar)
- anaphylaxis to previous vaccine (or vaccine component)
- high risk of adverse reaction post vaccination due to medical conditions.
People with egg allergy (including anaphylaxis) can safely receive MMR vaccine in any setting.
People with egg allergy can safely receive influenza vaccine in any setting. People with egg anaphylaxis should be vaccinated in a medical facility with staff experienced in recognising and treating anaphylaxis.
Australian Immunisation Register
Recording of vaccinations
The documentation of all vaccine doses administered must be electronically entered on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) to maintain accurate health records and to monitor vaccine coverage rates.
ACT Health requires data on influenza doses administered by providers completing the influenza vaccine record form as this informs:
- Priority groups receiving/ not receiving vaccines; and
- assists with targeted communication for priority groups that have lower uptake of these vaccines.
Information to assist with vaccine recording:
Rabies and Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV) post exposure prophylaxis
Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals usually transmitted through the bite or scratch of an infected animal or by direct contact of the virus with mucosa (nose, eyes and mouth). ABLV is closely related to rabies and all Australian bats have the potential to carry lyssavirus. The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease which is nearly always fatal.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PREP) is recommended for those travelling to Rabies prone areas, as well as for those who work in an at-risk occupation such as bat-handlers and veterinarians.
Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) should be commenced as soon as possible following exposure, although there is no time limit.
If a person has been bitten or scratched by a bat anywhere in the world, or by an animal in a rabies endemic country, complete the Rabies/Australian Bat Lyssavirus Post Exposure Prophylaxis Form and contact the Communicable Disease Control (CDC) section urgently to assess whether post exposure prophylaxis is needed. During business hours phone (02) 5124 9800 or after (02) 9962 4155 to page the on-call officer.
Post exposure management will depend on the extent of the exposure, the animal source, the person’s immune system and their vaccination history. A post-exposure course of rabies vaccine and a one-off dose of rabies immunoglobulin (RIG) may be recommended to prevent infection. Vaccine and Human Rabies Immunoglobulin and should be administered as per the rabies section of the Australian Immunisation Handbook. Please complete and return PEP treatments forms to fax 5124 9307 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org after administering treatment.
Other things to consider
People aged 1 year or over must have an International certificate of vaccination or prophylaxis if they have stayed overnight or longer in a declared yellow fever–infected country within 6 days before arriving in (or returning to) Australia. Some countries require yellow fever vaccination for travellers having transited through the airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. List of countries with yellow fever transmission and countries requiring yellow fever vaccination.
Healthcare professionals provide this certificate at the time of vaccination. The certificate is valid for the duration of the life of the person and begins 10 days after vaccination.
Yellow fever vaccine must be given by an approved yellow fever vaccination centre. Medical practices wishing to become an approved centre must meet the minimum requirements set out in the National Guidelines for Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres and Providers. If your practice meets these criteria you may complete the Application for medical practices to become an approved yellow fever vaccination centre form.
Practices are required to:
- Nominate a medical practitioner responsible for ensuring the practice continues to meet WHO and Australian requirements for yellow fever vaccination following accreditation. The nominated person will become the applicant and principal practitioner for yellow fever accreditation requirements.
- Ensure all individual practitioners intending to prescribe yellow fever vaccination have completed the online yellow fever course. The course is available to all eligible providers on the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) online platform.
- Fill out and submit the yellow fever application form and submit it to Immunisation@act.gov.au.
- The Health Protection Service will review the application and arrange an onsite visit to finalise the application. Once all requirements have been met, the Health Protection Service will notify the Australian yellow fever vaccine supplier that your practice is an approved centre and you will receive correspondence informing you of your Yellow Fever Provider number and that you may now order vaccine.
- Any change of details following your yellow fever vaccination centre appointment must be notified to Health Protection Service, ACT Health within 7 days using the Change of Details Form.
- Approved Centres are required to complete a Yellow Fever Vaccination Audit annually. Continued accreditation is dependent upon returning this audit to the Health Protection Service by the nominated date.
To maintain Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre status, an approved medical practice must ensure that all practitioners, responsible for provision of the vaccine, meet the individual accreditation requirements introduced on 26 November 2018. Individual vaccination providers can become accredited by successfully completing the Yellow Fever Vaccination Course and providing the certificate of completion to the Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre at which they intend to practise.
Practitioners currently providing the vaccine have until 2021 to complete the course. New providers are required to complete the course prior to practising at an approved Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre.
For more information on the Yellow Fever Vaccination Course and the National Guidelines for Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres and Providers, refer to the factsheet Yellow Fever Vaccination Factsheet – New Individual Training Requirement for Yellow Fever Vaccination Providers.