ATAGI also decided to reduce the period of time a person should wait between their first booster dose or a COVID-19 infection and receiving a winter dose from four months to three months. This is the same time period recommended between a first booster dose and a person’s second shot (or infection).
Which vaccines are available?
The vaccines used for the fourth doses are the same shots able to be used for your original booster. While the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Novavax vaccines are all registered for use as booster doses in Australia, the first two are most commonly used and AstraZeneca requires a doctor’s referral.
Where can I book a vaccination?
Contact your local GP or pharmacy to book in for your fourth shot. In some states, a small number of state vaccination hubs are also still in operation. You can search for vaccination clinics on the federal government’s Vaccine Clinic Finder.
Should we expect to see a similar rush on vaccines as experienced this time last year? A look inside the fridge at a GP or pharmacy shows the supply issues of 2021 do not exist now, but Butler said that, after third-shot coverage stalled at about 70 per cent of Australians, he expected uptake to “speed up” with a new focus on communication campaigns and the attention around the fourth doses.
However, he believed there was still “capacity to ramp up the effort”, noting community pharmacies were administering only 20 per cent of the vaccines they did at the 2021 peak.
I’m under 30, why can’t I have a booster?
Despite many people in their 20s now approaching six months since their booster shots, ATAGI has decided against making fourth doses available to this age group at this time as it is “unclear whether the benefits outweigh the risks in this population”.
This is because younger people generally experience very mild infection from COVID-19. “Although very rare, myocarditis associated with the mRNA vaccines [Pfizer and Moderna] can occur, particularly in adolescent and young adult males,” ATAGI also noted.
People aged 16 to 29 who have qualifying health conditions are still recommended to receive the fourth dose.
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