All Australians over 18 will get Covid-19 booster shots six months after their second dose – here’s when you can expect to get your third jab
All Australians over 18 will be offered Covid-19 vaccine booster shots at least six months after their second dose.
The boosters, which have been approved by Australia’s drug regulator, will be the Pfizer vaccine regardless of which jab the patient had before.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said states and territories will decide whether residents will need to have a booster to be considered fully vaccinated.
All Australians over 18 will be offered Covid-19 booster shots at least six months after their second dose. Pictured: A vaccination in Sydney last month
It comes after overseas data showed the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine in particular decreased over time.
Earlier this month Health Minister Greg Hunt said aged-care residents will get their third doses in the second week of November.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Kelly said priority groups in phases 1a and 1b of the vaccine rollout would be ‘first in line because they are now six or more months after the second dose.’
These groups include quarantine and border workers, aged care residents and staff, healthcare workers, adults over 70, Aboriginal people over 55, younger adults with medical conditions, defence, police, fire services and meat processing workers.
Professor Kelly said Israel’s booster shot program, which began in July, has shown that third doses are safe and effective in all age groups.
Some scientists forecast people will need a Covid vaccine once a year as the virus continues to mutate – but Professor Kelly said he hoped three doses would give lifelong immunity.
‘A third dose is likely to be last dose that you have to do [in your life],’ he said earlier this month.
On October 8 Australia’s vaccine scientists recommended Covid vaccine booster shots for 500,000 severely immunocompromised Australians over 12.
They are being given a third shot between two and six months after their second dose.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation said it does not recommend subsequent doses beyond the third dose at this time.
Many immunocompromised patients who fail to respond to third doses may not respond to further doses, it said.
The group said for immunocompromised patients a gap of two to six months after the second dose was preferable but this could be reduced to four weeks in exceptional circumstances such as anticipated intensification of immunosuppression and Covid-19 outbreaks.
‘People who have had a second dose more than six months ago should receive a third dose whenever feasible,’ it said.
‘An mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) is preferred to Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) for this third dose.’
Israel was the first country to start rolling out booster shots on July 30. The US, UK and EU countries have followed.