The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation ATAGI has made recommendations on a winter booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine for a number of at risk population groups.
The ATAGI recommends that the rollout of the additional booster dose for these groups starts from April 2022, coinciding with the rollout of the 2022 influenza vaccination program.
A winter booster dose is recommended for:
- People aged 65 years and older
- Residents of aged care or disability care facilities
- Severely immunocompromised people 16 years and older
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 50 years and older
For each of these groups it is recommended that:
Individuals receive a winter booster dose either four months after their previous booster dose, or from four months after previous SARS-CoV-2 infection if this has occurred since the previous booster dose.
A winter booster dose is not recommended for:
- People under 65 years of age with medical conditions that may increase their risk of COVID-19
- Healthcare, aged care, and disability care workers
- All others under 65 years of age (including those 5 – 15 years old)
For each of these groups it is recommended individuals complete the primary schedule of the COVID-19 vaccine. For those 16 and older (ie. excluding 5 – 15 years old) it is also recommended individuals receive a booster dose.
- Choice of vaccine aligns with current recommendations for COVID-19 vaccine boosters.
- Comirnaty (Pfizer) or Spikevax (Moderna) are the preferred vaccines for COVID-19 booster doses including the additional winter booster dose. Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) can be used when an mRNA vaccine is contraindicated or a person declines vaccination with an mRNA vaccine. Nuvaxovid (Novavax) can be used if no other COVID-19 vaccine is considered suitable for that person.
- The ATAGI will continue to review emerging evidence about booster vaccinations as it becomes available and will update recommendations and advice if needed.
- Influenza vaccine can be co-administered with the additional booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine. However, if a person is not yet eligible for their additional booster dose, influenza vaccine could be given ahead of the additional booster dose.