2021 Flu Vaccination Program

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2021 Government-Funded Influenza Immunisation Program for General Practice

 

Key Messages

  • Planning for 2021 government-funded influenza vaccine distribution is underway
  • This year WA Health has partnered with WA Primary Health Alliance to implement a process to pre-allocate influenza vaccines for general practices across Western Australia
  • WA Primary Health Alliance is coordinating pre-allocation of influenza vaccine doses which will occur for the first six-week period of vaccine ordering
  • It is WA Health’s intent to commence distribution of influenza to providers in late March, pending confirmation of deliveries from manufactures to our warehouse

 

WA Primary Health Alliance, WA Department of Health, the Australian Medical Association (WA) and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners WA have been working closely to improve supply of annual influenza vaccination stock to Western Australian general practices.

These discussions have resulted in an agreement to implement a pre-allocation model for the initial six weeks of the vaccine rollout to ensure a timely and appropriate vaccine supply for Western Australian general practice.

It is hoped this improved system, which includes a contingency for emergency supply, will ensure a more equitable distribution of initial stock for Western Australia’s health system’s needs, with the necessary flexibility and responsiveness to meet individual practices’ particular requirements. Read the full 'Joint statement 2021 influenza vaccine distribution' here.

GPs will be contacted via email by WAPHA to be given the opportunity to review the number of doses pre-allocated to their practice to ensure it meets refrigerator storage capacity and estimated vaccine usage.

 All enquiries relating to the pre-allocation of doses should be directed to Practice Assist phone toll-free 1800 2 ASSIST (1800 2 277 478) or email practiceassist@wapha.org.au
 

Seasonal influenza vaccination in 2021

For further information on the Government-funded Influenza Immunisation Program for General Practice click here to read the Government of Western Australia, Department of Health letter regarding 'Pre-allocation to GP's ' .

 

FAQs for Influenza Vaccination Distribution 

For GPs in metropolitan and regional WA, important changes to distribution of the government-funded seasonal influenza vaccines in 2021 are detailed in the below frequently asked questions. 

FAQs for Influenza Vaccination Distribution 

When will the influenza vaccines arrive?

It is WA Health’s intent to commence distribution of influenza to providers in late March, pending confirmation of deliveries from manufacturers to our warehouse.

When commencement dates are confirmed, WAPHA and CDCD will communicate to all providers

Why are we receiving this request to review the number of vaccinations that will be distributed to our practice?

WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA), WA Department of Health, the Australian Medical Association (WA) and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners have been working closely to improve supply and distribution of annual influenza vaccination stock to Western Australian general practices.

These discussions have resulted in an agreement to implement a pre-allocation model (based on a proven model used in the eastern states) for the initial six weeks of the vaccine rollout for the over 65 age group. This will ensure a timely, appropriate and equitable vaccine supply for general practices. Following the first six weeks, practices will be able to order additional doses required, subject to remaining stock supply.

The planned approach takes into consideration –
  • The arrival of stock at the warehouse over a six-week period
  • The calculations of active patients within each practice
  • The feedback received that practices could plan their vaccination clinics if they knew in advance the number of vaccines that were to be delivered.
  • Reduction of vaccine wastage
 

When should we plan our clinics?

Vaccination clinics should be scheduled after the vaccine doses have been received at your practice. Deliveries should occur in line with routine fortnightly delivery schedules in the metropolitan area. In the regional areas, deliveries will be each alternate week following the first delivery.
 

How were the numbers of vaccines calculated?

The number of active patients in each cohort attending each practice has been mapped against the amount of vaccine available in WA each fortnight, and considers the timing of when vaccine supply should arrive into WA.

What are the cohorts being used for the pre-allocation?

  • 6 months to less than 5 years
  • 5 years to less than 64 years of age, who are eligible for NIP-funded influenzas vaccines including: individuals who are medically at risk OR individuals who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • 65 years of age and over
  • 5 years of age to less than 13 years of age

How do you know the number of active patients in each cohort that attend our practice?

If you have signed a data sharing agreement with WAPHA your practice data will be utilised to determine these numbers.

For those practices that do not share data, you will be invited to enter this information via a secure portal.

Who will have access to this information?

WAPHA has access to the number of active patients in a practice where a practice is sharing data with WAPHA.
This information is being used by WAPHA to calculate the equitable distribution of influenza vaccination stock across practices.

The distribution data will be provided to the WA Department of Health so they can process the deliveries.

Why is the cut-off date such a quick turn around?

The information is required by 9th March to enable the WA Department of Health to process and plan for the delivery of the vaccines.

When will the vaccines be delivered?

Vaccines will be delivered when they become available to WA Health.

Why is pre-allocation only relating to the first six weeks of the influenza vaccination season?

The first six weeks of the influenza vaccination season is when demand for stock is at its highest. Shipments of influenza vaccine into WA are limited in the first few weeks until more stock is produced and becomes available.

What happens after the first six weeks of planned distribution?

Your practice will be able to access further supply of 2021 seasonal influenza vaccines through the WA Health online vaccine ordering system. Your practice will be notified when the on-line ordering system is open to general practices to order additional doses if required. Messaging will also be provided on the ordering system.

Who organised the pre-allocation plan?

WA Primary Health Alliance, WA Department of Health, the Australian Medical Association (WA) and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners WA have been working closely to improve supply and distribution of annual influenza vaccination stock to Western Australian general practice.

These discussions have resulted in an agreement to implement a pre-allocation model (based on a proven model used in the eastern states) for the initial six weeks of the vaccine rollout. This will ensure a timely, appropriate and equitable vaccine supply for general practice. Following the first six weeks, practices will be able to order whatever supply they need.

What if I have no data regarding the numbers of active patients in each cohort?

If you are not sure how to access the number of active patients in each cohort in your practice software, contact PracticeAssist@wapha.org.au and one of our practice support staff will be able to assist.

How can I structure the information in my practice so patients know when the vaccines will be available?

Communications to patients and booking of appointments for influenza vaccinations should be based on the number of vaccines you are allocated for your scheduled deliveries, and to ensure stock does not run out.

What if I run out and have a clinic booked?

You must carefully plan your clinic dates in line with what will be distributed to you. You will need to manage the demand and expectation within your clinic. We recommend that you quarantine a proportion of your doses when planning clinics to ensure that you have adequate supply for the fortnight.

What if I have a cold chain breach and cannot use the vaccines I have in stock?

Providers must advise their WA Health public health unit (Healthy WA)  when a cold chain breach occurs.  If you have been advised by the Public Health Unit (PHU) to discard vaccines, the Vaccine Orders team will be advised by the PHU, and will liaise with you to arrange resupply of vaccine.

Now is the time to review your cold chain storage processes, and ensure your vaccine fridges are fit-for-purpose.  For up to date information review the WA Health cold chain management web page.

Can I collect more stock from the warehouse if we run out of influenza vaccines?

No. Each practice must manage their bookings to ensure they do not run out of stock. Collection of extra vaccinations from the warehouse will not be allowed during the first six weeks of the season unless there is an emergency such as a cold chain breach. We recommend that you do not allocate all your vaccine to clinics, and that you retain a proportion of vaccines for opportunistic vaccination.


 

Are we required to take delivery of our full influenza vaccine allocation for the fortnight?

No. You can choose to receive less than your allocated amount. For instance, if you are concerned about fridge storage space you can request that a smaller number of vaccines be delivered. Please note that vaccines will be presented in packs of 10 doses.

How will I know if my patient has received an influenza vaccine or a COVID-19 vaccine in the last two weeks?

Immunisation providers are required to comprehensively screen everyone who wants to be vaccinated. This includes checking the Australian Immunisation Register for the person’s vaccination history. More information on pre-vaccination screening can be found here: https://immunisationhandbook.health.gov.au/vaccination-procedures/preparing-for-vaccination

Will GPs be provided clear guidance for timelines of vaccination between influenza and COVID-19?

  • Routine scheduling and giving of an influenza vaccine with a COVID-19 vaccine on the same day is not recommended.
  • The preferred minimum interval between a dose of seasonal influenza vaccine and a dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (BNT162b2) or the AstraZeneca vaccine (ChAdOx1-S) is 14 days.
  • There is no particular requirement regarding the order of receiving a dose of influenza vaccine and either the first or second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • If an influenza vaccine has been inadvertently co-administered or given within a shorter interval than 14 days with a COVID-19 vaccine, revaccination with either vaccine is not considered necessary.
The above advice has been taken from The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) have issued clinical advice statement aims to provide guidance for immunisation program coordinators and immunisation providers on the relative timing of scheduling and giving influenza vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines in 2021, which can be accessed here:  https://www.health.gov.au/resources/publications/covid-19-vaccination-atagi-advice-on-influenza-and-covid-19-vaccines

It is best to stay up to date by referring to:  
Email healthpathways@wapha.org.au if you don’t have or have forgotten your username or password
 

How do I access private supplies of influenza vaccines?

There are a number of providers who distribute private flu vaccination supplies including AMA medical supplies.
 

How do I access the portal to view and update my allocation?

Invitations to access the portal have been sent to the distribution list provided by WA Health or registered vaccine providers.

f you have not received the invitation but think you should have, please contact PracticeAssist@wapha.org.au
 

How will I know what my final allocation is?

You will receive a communication from WAPHA once the allocations are finalised by the WA Health Public Health Unit, considering practice requests and stock volumes.  You will receive a prompt to access the portal so can you view your final allocations.

Once the allocations have been entered in the TOLL distribution system you will receive a notification that your delivery has been scheduled.
 

What do I do if I need to change my pre-allocation amount after the portal has closed?

Contact vaccineorders@health.wa.gov.au via email.
 

The contact person for vaccination ordering at my practice has changed, who should I notify?

Log on to the WA Health Vaccine Ordering system and update your provider details.  
 
Practice Assist acknowledges and pays respect to the Traditional Owners and Elders of this country
and recognises the significant importance of their cultural heritage, values and beliefs and how these
contribute to the positive health and wellbeing of the whole community.