Who in Australia Is Eligible for a Third COVID-19 Vaccine Dose?

Who in Australia Is Eligible for a Third COVID-19 Vaccine Dose?
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The first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines are still rolling out around the country, and now the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has weighed in on a third shot.

ATAGI recommended late last week that a third primary dose of a COVID-19 vaccine should be given to individuals who are severely immunocompromised.

Here’s what you need to know about this decision.

Who should get a third COVID-19 vaccine dose in Australia?

ATAGI’s statement recommends a third dose as part of the primary course of vaccination. While this will provide a boost in protection against COVID-19, it’s not really considered a ‘booster’ shot.

The third dose is for severely immunocompromised individuals and is intended to “maximise the level of immune response to as close as possible to the general population” and also address the risk of “suboptimal or non-response” to the standard schedule of two doses.

The third dose is recommended for people over 12 who have any of the listed conditions that ATAGI outlines here. If you’re not included in that list, please don’t try and book a third shot.

The organisation also warned that a third dose may still not be enough to bring the level of protection for immunocompromised individuals to the same standard as the general population. Therefore masks and social distancing should still be continued, even after a third dose.

Which vaccine should you get?

Exactly which dose listed recipients receive as their third is also an important consideration.

ATAGI recommends the third shot be an mRNA vaccine, which currently includes Pfizer or Moderna in Australia.

A third shot of AstraZeneca (aka Vaxzevria) can be given to those who received this vaccine as their initial two doses.

When should you get a third dose?

The recommended interval between doses outlined by ATAGI is anywhere from two to six months after the second dose was received.

A minimum of four weeks between second and third doses can be considered in exceptional circumstances.

Immunocompromised individuals who received their second dose over six months ago should get a third as soon as possible.

ATAGI said it’s hoping to provide more details about additional doses for the general population later in October.

If you haven’t received a COVID-19 vaccine just yet, you can find out how to book your jab here.