National Immunisation Program changes from 1 July 2023

Department of Health

From 1 July 2023, Vaxelis® will be added to the National Immunisation Program (NIP) as an alternative vaccine for use in the primary vaccination series for children at 2, 4 and 6 months of age against:

  • diphtheria
  • tetanus
  • pertussis
  • hepatitis B
  • poliomyelitis
  • invasive infections caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b (DTPa-hepB-IPV-Hib).

Vaxelis® is also suitable and funded for use in children under 10 years of age who have not previously received DTPa-hepB-IPV-Hib vaccination (catch-up vaccination).

Vaxelis® is available as an alternative NIP funded vaccine to Infanrix® hexa, and not as a replacement vaccine. There is no preferred vaccine to use between these two products.

A primary series of DTPa-hepB-IPV-Hib vaccination should be with the same vaccine (for example, three doses of Vaxelis® or three doses of Infanrix® hexa). If this is not possible, providers may use another brand of the same antigen combination following the dose recommendations to complete the series.

Vaccination providers can check a child’s Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) record through clinical practice software or the AIR site. This can help them find the vaccine type used in any previous primary doses.

Preparing Infanrix® hexa and Vaxelis® differs:

Infanrix® hexa vaccine consists of a single dose 0.5 mL pre-filled syringe and a vial containing a lyophilised pellet. The lyophilised pellet is the Hib component that needs reconstitution with the DTPa-hepB-IPV components (a liquid). Give this as a 0.5mL dose after reconstitution.

Vaxelis® vaccine is a single dose 0.5mL pre-filled syringe in a ready to use formulation containing all components.

Always check that the vaccine is prepared and given according to product instructions. Refer to the Australian Immunisation Handbook for advice.

The NIP schedule includes booster doses of DTPa (Infanrix® or Tripacel®) and Hib (ActHIB®) vaccines to continue at 18 months.

State and territory health departments will share advice about supplying DTPa-hepB-IPV-Hib vaccines to clinics and practices with vaccination providers.

Having an alternative product for DTPa-hepB-IPV-Hib vaccination available under the NIP will support and strengthen the program.

Ongoing Bexsero® catch-up program

From 1 July 2023, the meningococcal B (Bexsero®) catch-up vaccination program will be ongoing. The program, originally due to end on 30 June 2023, focuses on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants under 2 years of age.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander infants receive the meningococcal B vaccine at 2, 4 and 12 months of age. Infants who have certain risk conditions need an extra dose at 6 months of age.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children can catch up on missed meningococcal B vaccines up until they turn 2 years of age. If they receive their first dose before turning 2 years of age, they can complete the other doses even after turning 2 years.

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