The Australian Immunisation Handbook 10th Edition

1.3 How to use the 10th Edition Handbook

Page last updated: 06 March 2017

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The following information provides an overview of how information is presented in this 10th edition of The Australian Immunisation Handbook, to guide the reader in how to best use this resource.

The Handbook is divided into five major parts. Part 1 contains information on the development process for the Handbook, a summary of changes from the 9th edition Handbook, and an overview of the general principles of immunisation, including both active and passive immunisation, vaccine efficacy and vaccine safety. Part 2 of the Handbook is divided into three chapters, which describe the processes and procedures involved around a vaccination encounter: pre-vaccination requirements; a detailed discussion of the administration of vaccines; and information on post-vaccination considerations. In Part 3 of the Handbook, there are three chapters, each dedicated to vaccinations for different special risk groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, international travellers, and other special risk categories (e.g. immunocompromised persons, pregnant women and others).

Part 4 of the Handbook contains 24 chapters, each dealing with an individual disease for which a vaccine, or vaccines, are currently available in Australia. These chapters all follow the same format and are divided into various sections describing:

  • the biology, clinical features and epidemiology of the disease
  • information on vaccines, with those available, or soon to be available, in Australia highlighted in a shaded box (for more information see also the Therapeutic Goods Administration website, for the latest vaccine product information document provided by the manufacturer and 1.5.3 Active immunisation)
  • recommendations for vaccine use
  • use in pregnancy and breastfeeding
  • contraindications, precautions and advice on adverse events following immunisation specific to the vaccine(s) (for more information see 1.5.5 Vaccine safety and adverse events following immunisation)
  • information on the public health management of each disease; this is only given in detail where there are specific additional recommendations for vaccine use in the context of disease control and/or post-exposure prophylaxis
  • variations from product information.

Variations from product information

In some instances, the ATAGI recommendations in the Handbook may differ from information provided by the manufacturer in the vaccine product information document (PI); these differences may be recommendations that are in addition to or instead of those listed in the PI. Where indicated, variations from the PI are detailed in each relevant vaccine chapter under the heading ‘Variations from product information’. Where a variation exists, the ATAGI recommendation should be considered best practice.

The reader is encouraged to seek additional information on communicable disease surveillance, prevention and control, including published guidelines, from the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) via the Australian Government CDNA website.

Part 5 of the Handbook pertains to passive immunisation using immunoglobulin preparations and provides an overview of the available products and their intended use.

There are a number of appendices, including contact details for state and territory health departments (Appendix 1); the literature search strategies used for the 10th edition of the Handbook (Appendix 2); components used in the vaccines available via the National Immunisation Program (Appendix 3); some commonly asked questions (Appendix 4); a glossary of terms used in the Handbook (Appendix 5); abbreviations used in the Handbook (Appendix 6); and a list of dates when various vaccines became available in Australia (Appendix 7).