As Australia reaches its vaccine targets and COVID-19 shows no signs of going away, it’s time to think about booster shots. The booster situation is changing quickly and many Aussies are already able to book in and get the third jab.
Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) provisionally approved booster doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for individuals aged over 18 on October 27. And on November 8, Australia’s vaccine booster program officially kicked off. Moderna was approved as a booster dose in December.
Here’s what we know about the state of affairs with booster shots in Australia right now.
Who can get a booster shot?
Booster doses are available and recommended for every Australian over 18 years of age who has had both doses of their primary COVID-19 vaccine.
The Department of Health originally recommended the gap between the second dose and booster shot should be at least six months. However, emerging research indicates that protection against the Omicron variant declines after 6 months so the gap between doses has since been shortened to at least four months.
To figure out whether you’re due for a booster shot you can find the date of your second vaccine dose on your COVID-19 digital certificate.
Those who are severely immunocompromised are encouraged to receive a third primary dose of a COVID-19 vaccine after a minimum of two months after their second dose. This is different to a booster shot.
Which boosters are available?
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has said that both the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are considered equally acceptable as booster vaccines. This means you can receive either vaccine as a booster shot regardless of which vaccine you received initially.
The AstraZeneca vaccine has not yet been approved by the TGA as a booster yet. However, ATAGI said both the mRNA Pfizer and Moderna shots are preferable as boosters even for those who had an initial course of AstraZeneca.
How can you book an appointment?
Similar to the initial rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in Australia, booster shots are available to be booked online and can be given by your local GP, pharmacy or health clinic, where available.
You can find use the vaccine clinic finder to book a slot and find a place near you to get a booster.
A reminder that COVID-19 vaccines are free and it’s hugely important to stay on top of your booster appointments or to book in for an initial course of jabs if you haven’t already.
This post was originally published on October 27 and has since been updated with current information.