COVID-19 is now one of Australia’s leading causes of death according to data from the Bureau of Statistics. This is an important reminder for eligible Australians to get a booster shot.
All adults can get a booster if it’s been 6 months or longer since their last COVID-19 booster or confirmed infection (whichever is most recent). Boosters give extra protection against severe illness from COVID as well as Long COVID.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recently recommended a booster jab for the most vulnerable Australians.
All adults aged 75 years and older should receive an extra 2023 COVID-19 vaccine dose if six months have passed since their last dose.
This particularly includes people at higher risk of severe illness, such as:
- adults aged 65-74 years
- everyone 18 years and over with medical comorbidities, disability or complex health needs.
Children and young people aged 5 to 17 years can consider getting a booster dose if:
- they have a health condition that put them at risk of severe illness, and
- if it’s been 6 months since their last dose or COVID-19 infection.
Booster doses are not recommended currently for children and adolescents under 18 years of age who do not have any risk factors for severe COVID-19.
According to the Department of Health, all vaccines approved for use in Australia continue to give strong protection against serious illness from COVID-19. Omicron-specific bivalent vaccines are preferred for boosters.
Updated COVID vaccines approved in the United States
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved updated vaccines by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna in mid-September.
The new shots are designed to protect against XBB.1.5, a subvariant of Omicron, and should also protect against more recent virus strains, including EG.5 and BA.2.86.
At the time of writing, there is no indication if or when these new vaccines will be approved for use in Australia.
COVID-19 Vaccines: Department of Health