Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) immunisation

The WA Department of Health provides free respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) immunisation for eligible groups.

From 1 April 2024 to 30 September 2024, all infants born on or after 1 October 2023 entering their first RSV season will be eligible to receive immunisation.

Some at risk infants and children born on or after 1 October 2022, entering their second RSV season may be eligible (see eligibility criteria below).

Providers are urged to prioritise immunisation in April and May to ensure eligible infants and children are protected prior to the start of the 2024 RSV season.

This program is delivered through participating birth hospitals, general practices, Aboriginal Medical Services, and community health immunisation clinics. Nirsevimab is not offered through community pharmacies.

The following resources are available to print for community health clinics:

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection is a notifiable infectious disease in Western Australia.

Eligibility

The below 4 cohorts are eligible for nirsevimab immunisation under the 2024 RSV infant immunisation program.

From 1 April 2024 to 30 September 2024, nirsevimab will be offered: 

  • as a catch-up program for babies born from 1 October 2023 to 30 April 2024
  • to all Aboriginal children born from 1 October 2022 to 30 September 2024
  • to some medically at-risk children (listed below) in their second RSV season born from 1 October 2022 to 30 September 2023

In addition:

  • at birth to all babies born between 1 May and 30 September 2024 

Medically at-risk children 

Children with the conditions outlined below are at increased risk of severe RSV disease and would benefit from a dose of nirsevimab when entering their second RSV season.

Recommended age group

  • Children aged between 8 to 19 months of age born between 1 October 2022 to 30 September 2023

Dose recommended

  • 200mg (administered through 2 separate 100 mg IM injections)

Conditions at increased risk for severe RSV disease:

  1. Cardiac disease with hemodynamic impairment including:
    • Cyanotic heart disease
    • Acyanotic heart disease such as VSD requiring heart failure treatment
    • Cardiomyopathy – congenital or acquired.
  2. Chronic respiratory conditions including:
    • Chronic lung disease of prematurity/ bronchopulmonary dysplasia requiring medical support (chronic corticosteroid treatment, diuretic therapy or supplemental oxygen) at any time in the 6 months before the start of second RSV season
    • Need for respiratory support such as tracheostomy, non-invasive ventilation (BIPAP or CPAP).
  3. Premature infants:
    • All born at ≤ 28 weeks gestation
    • >28 to ≤ 32 weeks gestation and under 12 months old at the beginning of RSV season.
  4. Neuromuscular disorders which impair respiratory function including:
    • Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA)
    • Cerebral palsy
    • Metabolic disorders with neuro/muscular impairment.
  5. Immunocompromising conditions including:
    • Primary immunodeficiencies such as severe combined immunodeficiency disease, congenital agammaglobulinemia
    • Post haematopoietic stem cell transplant
    • Post solid organ transplant
    • End stage organ disease (awaiting transplant)
    • Those on highly immunosuppressive therapy or completed in the last 6 months.
  6. Congenitally diagnosed genetic conditions which impair respiratory function including:
    • Trisomy 21.
Timing of RSV immunisation

Providers should consider RSV immunisation shortly before the RSV season begins. While the program is available until September, providers are urged to prioritise immunisation in April and May to ensure children whom are eligible receive the nirsevimab prior to or at the start of the RSV season.

For babies born during the RSV season (May to September), nirsevimab should be given before leaving the hospital.

One dose of nirsevimab protects infants for at least 5 months, the length of an average RSV season. Nirsevimab can be safely administrated at the same time as other routine childhood vaccines.

For a brief summary of General Practice and hospital emergency department sentinel surveillance data on RSV notifications, subscribe to Virus WAtch (a weekly electronic publication by the Communicable Disease Control Directorate, WA Health and key collaborators).

Clinical guidance and education

Supporting guidance

Education

The RSV module has been developed by WA Department of Health to provide relevant WA immunisation providers that administer RSV immunisations to eligible children. Immunisation providers working under the CEO of Health SASA must complete this update. Refer to Immunisation education to access the RSV module.

To supplement this, WA Health held an RSV Update session on 13 March 2024. Please note the session covered information on RSV disease and program details, including reporting and recording requirements. The program eligibility has been updated since this recording.

For up to date announcements and news, subscribe to the WA Department of Health Vaccine updates (external site) e-newsletter.

Presentation Video
RSV clinical illness, risk factor and diagnosis treatment 
Chris Blyth (PDF 8MB)
Recording (external site)
RSV epidemiology, nirsevimab and anticipated benefits of universal immunisation of young infants 
Paul Effler (PDF 3MB)
Recording (external site)
RSV Program information 2024
– Jo-Anne Morgan (PDF 389KB)
Recording (external site)
Immunisation ordering, reporting requirements and cold chain 
Darren Westphal (PDF 457KB)
Recording (external site)
Reporting to the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR)

Beyfortus and generic RSV immunisations are available to report to the AIR using clinical software. If these options are not visible in your medical software, first ensure the software is up-to-date and then contact your software provider if still unable to view these new additions.

Alternatively, these immunisations can be reported to the AIR via PRODA. General information about reporting of immunisations can be found on Immunisation provider information and resources.

How to record RSV immunisations in the AIR

  1. For all nirsevimab immunisations administered through the WA Health RSV infant immunisation program, please select Beyfortus (BFRSV).
  2. In instances where the brand administered is unknown, please select Generic RSV (GNRSV).

Note: When selecting a “Vaccine Type” on AIR, please select “State Program” regardless of provider setting (community, hospital, GP).

Nirsevimab dosage specifications

Children aged 8 months and older (regardless of weight) will require a dosage of 200mg (2x100mg doses). When reporting to AIR, enter as a single dose.

“Baby of” advice

For newborn babies that have not been named, use the term “Baby of” as first name. For multiple births, use “Baby 1 of”, “Baby 2 of”, etc. For surname, use mother’s surname.

For detailed instructions, refer to How to Report to the AIR via PRODA (PDF 868KB).

Immunisation safety

The WA Department of Health conducts ongoing monitoring of adverse events following immunisation and will do the same for nirsevimab immunisation.

Potential side effects

Nirsevimab has been determined by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to be safe and effective prior to approval for use in Australia. In clinical trials side effects after nirsevimab administration were uncommon.

Reported common local and generalised symptoms included:

  • pain, redness and swelling at injection site
  • rash.

Like all medicines, nirsevimab may cause side effects in some infants, however not every baby gets them. As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance that RSV Immunisation could cause a severe allergic reaction.

Reporting of adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) to the Western Australia Vaccine Safety Surveillance (WAVSS) system is a condition of Structured Administrations and Supply Arrangements (SASAs) that provide the authority for immunisation providers to safely administer vaccinations in WA.

Ordering and cold chain management

Providers who offer immunisation services for infants are eligible to order government-funded nirsevimab. Additional immunisation doses will be available to order through Onelink. Weekly ordering will be available for the first six weeks to help providers manage clinics and storage.

Before ordering, please ensure to:

  1. read the information and notes on the order template carefully.
  2. review your storage capacity. All nirsevimab packaging is 144mm x 51mm x 24mm, approximately the same size as Priorix singles.

Immunisation providers are responsible for ensuring vaccines received and stored at their premises, are managed by staff educated in cold chain management who follow the National vaccine storage guidelines: Strive for 5 (external site)

Visit vaccine ordering for further Information.

MyFT and consent form process birth hospitals/providers

Consent forms will be available in triplicate. The first page of the completed consent form should be returned to the WA Department of Health. This can be undertaken securely by scanning and sending the completed consent form via My File Transfer (MyFT).

The MyFT system is WA Health’s secure file transfer system available to staff and external providers to download secure files, email/send files securely or share files securely in a collaborative environment with each other for ongoing business requirements.

MyFT can be accessed via their website (external site).

A user guide is available upon registering for MyFT.

Access to MyFT

WA Health staff

  • Log a request via the eHFN-030 Access Request System
  • Select 'Change My Access button'. In the Applications / Computing Resources section, select Application Group: Core and Application Name: MyFT) to have a Standard User account created.

External providers

A restricted user account will automatically be created the first time you receive a file via MyFT from a WA Health staff member with a licensed MyFT account.

You will be prompted to create a MyFT password and activate your account the first time you receive a file via MyFT. In order to set up this account, WA Department of Health will send all external providers a file via the email address doh.immunisationdata@health.wa.gov.au

Logging in

  1. Log in via the MyFT website (external site)
  2. For WA Health staff, enter your WA Health email address or HE number, and your HE password.
  3. For external providers, enter your email address and your MyFT password.

The ‘Forgot password?’ link is only for use by external providers

Sending scanned completed consent forms

  1. Once logged into the MyFT system, on the top left hand corner of the navigation pane, select Compose. Enter the recipient’s full email address in the To field. The email address is doh.immunisationdata@health.wa.gov.au
  2. Type in the Subject line “RSV consent form” (please note that this part of the email will not be sent securely)
  3. To select the file/s you need to email, select the relevant ‘paperclip’ buttons to attach Files/Folders from this computer or select the ‘> MyFT’ button to select files from existing MyFT folders that you have access to. The file/s will be sent as secure links.
  4. In the Compose message area, type in the email body if required (please note that this part of the email will not be sent securely).
  5. Select the Send button to send the email.

 

Last reviewed: 18-04-2024