From today Australians over 30 are eligible for their fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) updated its recommendations for the dose to help reduce severe disease from the emerging surge of Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariant infections, and to reduce the burden on Australian hospitals and the healthcare system in coming months.
The fourth vaccine dose has been recommended to anyone over the age of 50, and for a fourth vaccine to be available to anyone over the age of 30,
The ATAGI emphasised that people previously eligible for a winter booster dose remain at higher risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19 and should receive a winter booster dose as soon as possible. This includes:
- all adults aged 65 years or older
- residents of aged care or disability care facilities
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years or older
- people who are severely immunocompromised (this will be their fifth dose)
- people aged 16 years or older with a medical condition that increases the risk of severe COVID-19 illness
- people aged 16 years or older with disability, significant or complex health needs, or multiple comorbidities which increase the risk of a poor outcome.
It also recommended that individuals who have previously been infected with SARS-CoV-2, irrespective of which variant it may have been, should continue to receive recommended vaccine doses, after an interval of three months, as prior infection alone will not provide sufficient protection against severe disease.