SENATOR THE HON KATY GALLAGHER
Minister for Finance
Minister for Health
Senator for the Australian Capital Territory
Date: Wednesday, 25 May 2022
People aged 16 to 64 who have a medical condition that increases their risk of severe COVID-19 illness and people with disability with significant or complex health needs, will be recommended to receive a winter booster vaccination dose from 30 May 2022.
The Australian Government has accepted advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) to expand the booster rollout program to these at-risk population groups.
ATAGI recommended this change to ensure those who are at greater risk of developing severe disease receive the best possible protection.
Healthy people aged 16 to 64 who do not have a risk factor for severe disease and who have received three doses of COVID-19 vaccine are not recommended to receive a winter booster dose at this time. This includes health care workers and pregnant women who do not have other risk factors.
The Government will work with the medical experts, states and territories and community groups to ensure each and every Australian knows the importance of vaccination and how they can take up their opportunity to remain protected.
We will work in partnership to ensure we communicate with Australians in this new cohort and to share information widely across the community. The expansion of eligibility is an important next step in building community protection from COVID and increasing booster rates.The primary goal of the Australian COVID-19 vaccine program is to minimise the risk of severe disease, including hospitalisation and death, from COVID-19.
Today’s advice builds on the ATAGI recommendation on 25 March 2022 for an additional winter booster dose (fourth dose) for most people in high risk groups, including:
- people aged 65 years and above
- residents of aged care or disability care facilities
- people with severe immunocompromise, and
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years or above.
People who are now recommended to receive a fourth dose include people with:
- Immunocompromising conditions.
- Specific chronic inflammatory conditions.
- Chronic lung disease.
- Chronic liver disease.
- Severe chronic kidney disease.
- Chronic neurological disease.
- Diabetes requiring medication.
- Chronic cardiac disease.
- People with disability with significant or complex health needs or multiple comorbidities which increase risk of poor outcomes from COVID-19.
- Severe obesity.
- Severe underweight.
People who are eligible for the winter dose, but have had a recent infection of COVID-19, should delay their winter booster until 3 months after their infection.
People can book their COVID-19 vaccination using the Vaccine Clinic Finder.
In addition, ATAGI recommends everyone in Australia over the age of 6 months should receive an influenza vaccination.
Influenza vaccinations can be given at the same time as COVID-19 vaccines and should not be delayed if someone is up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines.
People at more risk from influenza are eligible for a free vaccination. This includes:
- adults 65 years and over
- children aged 6 months to less than 5 years
- pregnant women
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 6 months and over, and
- people aged 6 months and over with certain medical conditions that increase their chance of severe influenza and its complications.
To book an influenza vaccination, speak to your GP, pharmacist or other immunisation provider.
For more information visit www.health.gov.au.
Patrick Cronan - 0432 758 224