31 August 2022                                                                                   View this email in your browser

This Primary Care Update expands on the previous COVAX updates to include a broader range of information to support current challenges faced by primary care providers. If you have items to share across the network, please send them to

Please forward this update to any colleagues who may be interested and view previous editions here.

Moderna bivalent vaccine for adult booster dose
On 29 August, the TGA provisionally approved Moderna's bivalent COVID-19 vaccine, SPIKEVAX Bivalent Original/Omicron, for use as a booster dose in adults aged 18 years and over. This is the first bivalent COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Australia. We will advise providers as soon as ATAGI release their recommendations for clinical administration and government approval is given. Click here to read the media release.

Primary care vaccine provider bulletin 25 August

Novavax for people aged 12-17 years
ATAGI has added Novavax as a vaccine that may be used as a primary course of COVID-19 vaccination in all adolescents aged 12-17 years. The recommended dosing schedule is two doses, eight weeks apart. The Australian Government will include Novavax for this cohort in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program from 5 September. All primary care sites may commence administering immediately if they have appointments and stock available. Read more in the bulletin here.

Moderna training module for 6 months to under 5 years
The Department of Health and Aged Care (DoHAC) has launched its Moderna 6 months to under 5 years training module. To access the module (3.b), learners will need to complete the core modules, as well as the preceding Moderna (3. and 3.a) modules. To access the new module, learners need to update their profile to link it to a registered site administering the new vaccine. Read more on the COVID-19 vaccination training program page.

Safe disposal of COVID-19 vaccines
All vaccine vials and waste must be disposed of in a clinical waste bin in accordance with local requirements. Return Unwanted Medicines (RUM) bins are not an approved clinical waste bin. Vaccination providers are reminded to dispose of clinical waste immediately (including sharps and vaccine vials) at the point of use and when vaccines expire or when vials are empty. 

The VOC has been notified of several vaccine administration errors (VAEs) occurring where expired and used vials/syringes that were stored in the vaccine fridge pending disposal were mistakenly administered to patients.

Changes to vaccine products administered
Primary care vaccination providers are reminded that Murray PHN is the primary point of contact for requests to change vaccine type/s you wish to administer. Follow the process outlined in this Commonwealth factsheet then email with your intention to withdraw or amend the vaccines you will be administering. Your request will be passed to the Taskforce for processing. You must also update your service details in VCF Connect. Do not call the VOC to withdraw.

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for 6 months to under 5 years
Six practices in the Murray PHN region were selected to participate in the COVID-19 Moderna 6 months to under 5 years roll-out and have now been added to the list of vaccinating sites on our webpages, accessible here

The practices are in Albury, Benalla, Kennington, Myrtleford, Wangaratta and Wodonga. They were chosen based on applications received and decisions made by DoHAC. Due to the limited size of the population of the 6 months to under 5 years of age cohort, it was not possible for all interested practices to be able to administer the COVID-19 Moderna 6 months to under 5 years (Blue/Purple) vaccine. However, the Taskforce is closely monitoring the progress of the rollout and will consider onboarding additional practices where we identify any gaps in access to the vaccine.

Sites will receive a total allocation (not ongoing) and be able to place six orders four weeks apart. This vaccine should only be used for children aged 6 months to under 5 years with severe immunocompromise, disability, and those who have complex and/or multiple health conditions which increase the risk of severe COVID-19.

At this stage the Commonwealth has advised this is not an ongoing EOI and no more practices will be considered. If that changes, we will let you know.

Reporting COVID-19 cases
The Victorian Department of Health advised yesterday, that medical practitioners are no longer required to report COVID-19 diagnoses to the department. Notifications are now only to be made by pathology services.

Monkeypox (MPX)
ATAGI and the Victorian Department of Health have updated their warnings and guidelines on monkeypox.

Due to limited supply of the monkeypox vaccine (JYNNEOS®) in Victoria, not everyone who meets the eligibility criteria will be able to access a vaccine. Patients requiring post-exposure prophylaxis will be prioritised. The vaccine is currently only available through select metropolitan sexual health clinics and regional local public health units. People who meet the eligibility criteria but are finding it difficult to access an appointment, can be referred to e:

For the most up-to-date information and eligibility criteria, see the Victorian Department of Health’s webpage. Murray PHN has also created a webpage, available here. Members of the public who are enquiring about the vaccine, can be directed to the Better Health Channel webpage for more information. The Commonwealth has also developed a patient information leaflet.

Local monkeypox webinar
Murray PHN, in conjunction with Ovens Murray, Goulburn Valley and Loddon Mallee Public Health Units (PHUs) is presenting an update on management of MPX in general practice and the role of the PHUs. It will be held on Thursday 8 September from 7 – 8.15pm. For more information and to register, click here.

Meningococcal disease
A national social media campaign (sponsored by Pfizer) commenced on 29 August. It targets parents of teenagers to raise awareness of meningococcal disease. The campaign aims to support government run programs and assist vaccine uptake of 15-19 year olds who are recommended to receive meningococcal vaccinations. This cohort is eligible to receive free catch up menACWY vaccination through their GP (or pharmacist in Victoria) if they have missed their school vaccination. Campaign posts link to this article which includes this factsheet encouraging people to speak to a healthcare professional for more information.

Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV)

The Victorian Department of Health has updated their clinical guidance about accelerated vaccination schedules and the use of JEspect®.

It is important all persons presenting for JE vaccine are screened to determine which vaccine is appropriate for use. A vaccine error was reported to the department last week – an immunocompromised person received Imojev® rather than JEspect®. Further guidance about JE vaccine contraindications and links for the pre-immunisation checklist are available in the guidance document link above.

Providers of the vaccine in the Murray PHN region can be found here and 
local public health units are also providing JEV vaccines.
Please call ahead to ensure stock on hand.  

The Victorian Department of Health webpages include information for health professionals and the public. A social media pack for the promotion of prevention messages to community is also available.

Support for homebound individuals
If you have a homebound patient, Murray PHN can help to engage a local primary care vaccine provider or apply to the Commonwealth for a VAPP provider to be allocated.
Click here to see eligibility criteria and complete a referral form or for further information, contact Emma Healion t: 0437 616 877 or e:

Local outreach vaccination and testing clinics
Upcoming clinics in the Murray PHN catchment:  Clinic closure: The COVID-19 vaccination clinic operating from the previous Echuca South School site has now closed.

To promote vaccination outreach clinics or events, e:

Local vaccination providers
Details of local general practices, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations and pharmacies providing COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations are available on Murray PHN's website. If you wish to opt-out, e:

Note: Sites listed on our website are those classified as ACTIVE by the Commonwealth. Where specific vaccines are classified as DORMANT (no orders and <10 total administrations in the last 4 weeks) those vaccines have been removed.

COVID Positive Pathway changes
The Victorian Department of Health has released a FAQs document responding to some of the questions around changes to the COVID Positive Pathway. View it here.

Evusheld community prescribing
In response to clinician feedback, The Victorian Department of Health has simplified the process required to enable nurses in Supercare Pharmacies to administer Evusheld. Supercare nursing services can now be requested by completing an additional section on the Request to Access form. This will reduce the administrative burden for the prescriber and reduce the paperwork a patient is required to bring to the dispensing pharmacy. 
The Evusheld Community Prescriber Guide and supporting website content have both been updated and will be available here. A digital map of pharmacies stocking Evusheld is available here.

COVID-19 antivirals
The Victorian Virtual Emergency Department (VVED) can prescribe COVID-19 antivirals to Victorians who return a positive result and can’t get a GP appointment or access a GP respiratory clinic. The VVED can assess patients, determine their eligibility for COVID-19 medications, and prescribe these medications.

Practices and pharmacies are encouraged to proactively identify at-risk patients and put plans in place to support their access to timely care, including antiviral and other early therapies if they contract COVID-19, influenza or other respiratory viruses.

For resources including a list of local dispensing pharmacies (updated 29 August), visit Murray PHN's antiviral webpage.

Practice Incentives Program COVID-19 in-reach
The Department of Health and Aged Care has updated the Practice Incentives Program (PIP) COVID-19 In-Reach Vaccination Payment Guidelines to reflect the extension of the incentive to 31 December 2022. Review the updated guidelines here

To be eligible to receive the COVID-19 In-reach vaccination payment, general practices must:

  • report the relevant details for each in-reach vaccination clinic through the COVID-19 Vaccine Administrative System (CVAS), including the date and number of workers and residents vaccinated per clinic; and
  • provide sufficient evidence of in-reach COVID-19 vaccination clinics to support the claim.
Murray PHN will assist with the verification process via Clinic Summary Reports sent to after the clinic is complete.

Supporting the disability sector

Disability providers and liaison officers have been advised to contact Murray PHN for assistance with engaging local primary care providers to offer in-reach vaccinations or to request Commonwealth in-reach. If your practice is able to assist with in-reach or homebound vaccinations, e:

Primary care vaccine providers can access support and resources from Disability Liaison Officers to enable people with disability to access COVID-19 vaccination at their site in: 

For additional vaccination information for specific groups, click here.

Education and training

Upcoming events

Online learning

Recorded webinars

Communication and engagement

  • Murray PHN has a free community campaign that encourages people to get vaccinated against the flu and COVID-19. Resources include social media tiles, posters and flyers. Health services, local organisations and community groups are invited to share the campaign, available free to download from our Winter preparedness webpage.

New and updated resources

Further assistance

Copyright © 2022 Murray PHN, All rights reserved.

Murray PHN acknowledges its catchment crosses over many unceded First Nations Countries, following the Dhelkunya Yaluk (Healing River).
We pay our respects and give thanks to the Ancestors, Elders and Young people for their nurturing, protection and caregiving of these sacred lands and waterways, acknowledging their continuing cultural, spiritual and educational practices.
We are grateful for the sharing of Country and the renewal that Country gives us. We acknowledge and express our sorrow that this sharing has come at a personal, spiritual and cultural cost to the wellbeing of First Nations peoples. We commit to addressing the injustices of colonisation across our catchment, and to listening to the wisdom of First Nations communities who hold the knowledge to enable healing.
We extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Murray PHN (ABN 92 156 423 755) acknowledges the financial and other support from the Australian Government Department of Health.

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Murray PHN · 3-5 View Point · Bendigo, Vic 3550 · Australia