All adults who have not had a COVID-19 booster or a confirmed case in the past six months will be able to get another booster to give them additional protection against severe illness from COVID, as advised by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI).
The recommendation for additional boosters comes into effect on February 20.
The AGTAGI have particularly recommended that everyone at risk of severe illness particularly everyone aged 65 years and younger adults who have medical comorbidities, disability or complex health needs – have a 2023 booster dose.
ATAGI have advised that otherwise healthy children and teenagers do not need a booster at this time, given the low incidence of severe illness and high level of hybrid immunity amongst this cohort.
Children aged 5 to 17 with have health conditions that would put them at risk of severe illness will be eligible for the vaccine.
In all instances the recommendation for a booster is for people whose most recent COVID-19 vaccine or infection was six months or more ago, irrespective of how many prior doses that person has received.
The vaccine booster advice from ATAGI is specific to the current Australian context in early 2023. ATAGI has said that ongoing surveillance of COVID-19 infection rates, new variants and vaccine effectiveness will determine any future recommendations it makes concerning additional booster doses. For this booster dose, all available COVID-19 vaccines are anticipated to provide a benefit. However, Omicron-specific mRNA booster vaccines are preferred over other vaccines.
The Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler and Minister for Aged Care Anika Wells will be writing to aged care providers to advise them of the new requirements for additional booster doses. Providers will be encouraged to regularly bring local general practitioners and pharmacists into their facilities to administer the booster doses, as required by the vaccination and infection history of individual residents.