Immunisation Support

Need help or support with something related to immunisation? Explore the Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre and Victorian Specialist Immunisation Services (VicSIS) FAQs below, or submit a ticket if you need additional assistance.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Please see our reference page, COVID-19 vaccine delivery: workforce training and application process for more information on the training requirements for delivering COVID vaccines in Victoria: Link here

If you require further information, you can also contact workforce.training@health.vic.gov.au.

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VicSIS

The key purpose of the Victorian Specialist Immunisation Services (VicSIS) is to oversee and provide comprehensive specialist review and advice for those who have experienced a serious adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) with a COVID-19 vaccine.  

 

 

Once the referral has been received by the Central VicSIS HUB it will be triaged. If the referral is deemed appropriate, it will be forwarded to a local VicSIS clinic for an appointment date/time to be scheduled. Clinics are currently seeing patients based on priority and they will be in contact with you regarding your appointment as soon as possible.  

Please note: VicSIS is experiencing a high volume of referrals at this time and there may be significant delays in triaging referrals. Inappropriate referrals that do not meet the criteria outlined (eg. Minor, common, or expected side effects to a COVID-19 vaccine) or have insufficient information will be rejected. Referrers are requested to kindly pass this information on to their patients. 

Any physician with a provider number can create a referral to VicSIS through the VicSIS online portal. For all referrals related to an adverse event following immunisation (AEFI), please ask your physician to report through SAEFVIC first link here followed by a VicSIS referral.

Examples of significant AEFI includes:

  • Confirmed thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS)
  • Anaphylaxis or generalised allergic reaction (without anaphylaxis) to any component of the COVID-19 vaccine to be administered
  • Immediate (within 4 hours) and generalised symptoms of a possible allergic reaction (eg. hives) to a previous dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
  • Capillary leak syndrome
  • Pericarditis/Myocarditis
  • Immune thrombocytopenia
  • Guillain Barre Syndrome

Only patients who have experienced an AEFI (any significant adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) require a report to be made to SAEFVIC. Please go to SAFEVAC to report the AEFI. All other patients with a history of any of the following conditions are eligible for a direct referral to VicSIS (without at SAEFVIC report)  as they may be at higher risk of an AEFI.

 

    1. Patients who experience a significant AEFI following a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine should be referred to a VicSIS clinic for further assessment. A report of this AEFI will need to be made to SAEFVIC prior to an appointment being confirmed. Please ensure that management of serious medical issues are not delayed pending a VicSIS appointment.
    2. Individuals with a history of any of the following as they may be at higher risk of an AEFI:
    • Immediate (within 4 hours) and generalised symptoms of a possible allergic reaction (e.g. hives) to a previous dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
    • Anaphylaxis or generalised allergic reaction (without anaphylaxis) to any component of the COVID-19 vaccine to be administered (e.g. Polyethylene glycol - PEG - (e.g. Movicol) in the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine).
    • A history of PEG or polysorbate related reactions and/or a history of multiple allergic reactions to other medications containing PEG or polysorbate. (Please check the ingredients of the patient’s current/previously tolerated medications/vaccines as they may contain PEG/polysorbate).
    • A history of confirmed mastocytosis with recurrent anaphylaxis that requires treatment.

    Patient with other types of allergy (i.e. to other vaccines or medications, food, latex or venom allergies) do not require a VicSIS referral - vaccination can be administered safely at a routine vaccination centre. More information on allergy can be found at COVID-19 vaccine FAQs

    1. Patients with a history of the below conditions only need to be referred to VicSIS if they would normally be offered the AstraZeneca vaccine as part of government eligibility.
    • Previous cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST), heparin-induced thrombocytopaenia (HIT), idiopathic splanchnic (mesenteric, portal and splenic) venous thrombosis, anti-phospholipid syndrome (with thrombosis and/or miscarriage) or thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS)
    • Previous capillary leak syndrome

    Please refer to the ‘Clinician referral guide to the Victorian Specialist Immunisation Services (VicSIS)’ on the VicSIS website here

A significant AEFI is considered serious if it is life-threatening, requires in-patient hospitalisation or prolongation of existing hospitalisation, deemed clinically significant, results in persistent or significant disability/incapacity or requires intervention to prevent permanent impairment or damage 

Please upload all relevant supportive documentation pertaining to the medical condition of the patient. For example, if the patient has had an adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) supportive documentation would include; any pathology post reaction, diagnostics and a discharge summary from an ED visit. For any pre-vaccination consultation requests, please supply the patients' medical history including supporting diagnosis from relevant specialists. 

Please note: Referrals without clear rationale for a VicSIS referral and/or insufficient background medical history will not be triaged until more information is provided. 

Unfortunately, as VicSIS is experiencing a high volume of referrals currently, all pre-vaccination consultations are for patients who have experienced a significant adverse event following a previous vaccination or patients who are at a significant risk of developing an adverse event following immunisation. For all other pre-vaccination quires, please see your General Practitioner.  

If your referral has been accepted by a VicSIS clinic within your geographical location or speciality required, the clinic will contact you based on the level of priority. Unfortunately, we cannot provide a timeframe as VicSIS is experiencing a high volume of referrals at this time 

Your referring physician will receive a confirmation letter from VicSIS central HUB to confirm that the referral has been received from VicSIS email.  

Patients are encouraged to visit their referring physician or General practitioner to discuss the reason for rejection or visit the VICSIS website for specific referral advice and guidelines https://mvec.mcri.edu.au/references/saefvic/  

Anyone who has experience an adverse reaction post vaccination. This can be done on the SAFEVIC website (link here)

If the adverse reaction occurred whilst at the vaccination service it is the responsibility of that service; pharmacy, vaccination hub, medical centre etc to report the reaction to SAEFVIC. Where the adverse event occurred after you left your vaccination service you should visit your General Practitioner or relevant medical service for further advice and a SAFEVAC report should be put in on your behalf alternatively, it can be done by you.  

A SAFEVAC reports collects data on significant Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI) to monitor vaccine safety in Victoria which enables quick detection of any potential vaccine or system problems. A VicSIS referral is a separate pathway to organise follow up advice and care for a patient relating to COVID-19 vaccination. In the event your patient has experienced an AEFI you are required to complete both a SAEFVIC report AND VicSIS referral.

You are encouraged to seek professional advice from your treating General Practitioner regarding any quires relating to the COVID-19 vaccination. You can also visit the TGA website (link here) Or you can contact the Covid-19 vaccine helpline on 1800 020 080.

Currently, all initial VicSIS appointments are likely to be Telephone consultations. The appointed VicSIS clinic should have provided you with contact details in the event you need to change your appointment, as a result of isolation. If the appointment was scheduled for an onsite visit, please contact them directly to change your appointment. If you are concerned of exposure, please visit your closest COVID-19 testing site. For locations, please visit here

It is strongly encouraged to complete all SAFEVIC reports via the website to ensure they are properly received and recorded. This can be done through: here

VicSIS referrals will not be accepted if they are faxed to SAFEVIC. Referring your patient via the SAFEVIC fax line will result in significant delays to your patient being referred to VicSIS. All faxed referrals will be returned to the sender with guidance on how to create a SAEFVIC report.  

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