7 December 2022                                                                                   View this email in your browser

This update provides information to help primary care providers tackle current challenges, including COVID-19. Submissions can be sent to

View previous editions here.

COVID vaccination provider bulletin 2 December

Changes to VCF Connect
For instructions on how to list Pfizer Bivalent on the Vaccine Clinic Finder (VCF) from 12 December, refer to the bulletin – instructions differ depending on the date of ordering.
Also note that Moderna vaccine names have now changed in VCF Connect. Moderna (6-11) years has been disabled and Moderna (12 years+) and Bivalent (18 years+) has changed to Moderna Bivalent (18 years+) Booster.
If help is required to use VCF Connect, view the VCF Connect User Guide, call VCF Connect Support on 1800 316 375, or email 

Pfizer Bivalent
The Pfizer Bivalent vaccine was added to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) on 3 December. When reporting administration, providers should use the code COMBIV. All COVID-19 vaccine codes are outlined in this table, with further details provided in the bulletin. The new training module for Pfizer Bivalent is available and all clinical staff must complete it prior to administration. All training modules can be found on DoHAC's COVID-19 Training Page.

Opportunistic vaccination
Vaccination providers are encouraged to consider the number of vaccines required from mid-December to mid-January to meet demand over the holiday period. While minimising wastage is encouraged, the program is moving to a more opportunistic model that recognises that some wastage will occur. DoHAC reiterate that if an eligible patient requests a vaccine, providers should open a vial and administer the vaccine for them.

Reporting over the holiday period
If your practice is closed over the holidays, the requirement to submit weekly stock management reports is waived. You will be required to complete a report on re-opening and prior to placing your next order.

Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) update December 2022
The COVID-19 Vaccination Status Report (AIR042A) was introduced in December 2021 to help providers identify patients who have not had any vaccine, have not completed their course, or are due for boosters. Enhancements are being made to the report to improve usability and ensure it aligns with evolving clinical advice regarding COVID-19 vaccines. The improved report will be available for providers to use from March 2023.

Enhanced PPE requests
There is one week remaining for GPs, ACCHOs and GPRCs to order PPE items for face-to-face patient consultations. Community pharmacists administering COVID-19 vaccinations and booster doses, can also order p2/N95 respirators. Orders will close at 5pm on 14 December 2022. Click here to order.

Japanese Encephalitis Virus (JEV)
Stock of JE vaccines remains limited. In the lead up to the holiday season, providers should reduce ordering to ensure excess stock is not held during closure periods. Contact for assistance with vaccine ordering.

Vaccine breaches
To avoid vaccination errors, please ask every question on the eligibility checklist to ensure the correct vaccine is chosen. If you are unsure which vaccine to administer, do not vaccinate and refer the individual to a medical practitioner.
The Department has provided mandatory eLearning. Pharmacists and nurse immunisers must complete online training before administering JE vaccines

Reporting vaccinations
It is strongly recommended that JE vaccination be reported to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) using your medical practice software. Please enter the correct brand of vaccine and not the generic name as well as route of administration (ID vs SC). Reporting these vaccinations to the AIR means that the register contains a complete and reliable dataset and can monitor immunisation coverage and administration. It also means that individuals have a complete record of their vaccinations. More information for Victorian immunisation providers can be found here.

The vaccine is free for eligible people and general practices are encouraged to bulk bill for the service whenever possible. Vaccination can also be administered after arrival in flood affected areas to those from other regions deployed for prolonged recovery efforts. Further information is provided in this factsheet.

Additional resources:

  • Victorian Department of Health FAQ resource for immunisation providers
  • Social media pack that includes posters is available for the promotion of prevention messages to the community.
Providers of the vaccine in the Murray PHN region can be found hereLocal public health units are also providing JEV vaccines. Please call ahead to ensure stock is on hand. 

Local outreach vaccination and testing clinics
Upcoming clinics in the Murray PHN catchment:    Local primary care vaccination providers are available here

Support for homebound individuals
Murray PHN can help to engage a primary care vaccine provider for homebound patients. Click here for eligibility criteria and referral. For more:

COVID-19 antivirals in Prescriber Bags
Prescriber Bag arrangements changed on 1 November to allow medical and nurse practitioners to include Lagevrio and Paxlovid in the Prescriber Bag supplies for use in urgent circumstances for patients who are at a high risk of developing severe COVID-19 and who are unable to fill a PBS prescription from a community pharmacy in a timely manner. This is an emergency option only - prescribers should use a PBS prescription wherever possible. More information is outlined in this PBS factsheet.

Supporting the disability sector
Murray PHN is helping disability providers and liaison officers to engage primary care providers for in-reach vaccinations. If your practice can assist, email:

Practices can also access support and resources from disability liaison officers in: 

GP respiratory clinics
GPRCs provide free care for Victorians with respiratory symptoms, including comprehensive assessments and support to manage illnesses. If your health service lacks capacity or adequate PPE to manage patients with respiratory symptoms, please refer them to the nearest GP respiratory clinic and not to a hospital, unless it's an emergency. Local GPRCs are:

  • Shepparton Respiratory Clinic (Princess Park Clinic), 172 Welsford Street, Ph: 03 5821 9655 - click here for opening hours and bookings.
  • Wodonga Respiratory Clinic (Central Medical), 224-226 Beechworth Road, Ph: 02 6067 2437 - click here for opening hours and bookings.
For more information on GPRCs, click here.

Infection Prevention and Control support
Victorian general practices, community pharmacists and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations can call the Infection Prevention Helpline on 1800 312 968 or 03 9956 1046 9am-5pm Monday to Friday for free infection prevention and control advice.

Flood recovery
Here are some quick links to help you navigate recovery. If you require additional support, email or visit our website for helpful advice and information for community and health services.

Important considerations after floods:
  • Contaminated floodwater can increase the risk of infection and disease, see advice from Loddon Mallee PHUNSW HealthHealthdirect and WorkSafe QLD.
  • Look out for signs that you or those around you might be struggling. Head to Health services are available by calling 1800 595 212 between 8.30am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, except on public holidays.
Support for general practice staff 
General practice staff and their immediate family members can access Murray PHN's confidential Employee Assistance Program for free support. Call 1300 361 008 (24/7) and quote Murray PHN General Practice.

Education and training

Online learning

Recorded webinars

New and updated resources

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 and Ageing.

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