A fourth Covid-19 shot is being made available to a further 1.5 million of the most vulnerable Australians – dubbed a “winter booster”.
Vaccine advisory body ATAGI has expanded its recommendations for an additional booster to those with severe illnesses including cancer and Australians with a disability.
Acting Health Minister Katy Gallagher confirmed Wednesday the government had accepted the advice for these at-risk groups.
A fourth dose was already available to those aged over 65, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders over 50 and severely immunocompromised people.
Healthy people aged 16 to 64 with no serious risk of disease, who have already received three doses of Covid-19 vaccine, are not recommended to get an additional dose at this time.
This includes health care workers and pregnant women who do not have other risk factors.
Senator Gallagher said the primary goal of Australia’s vaccine program was to minimise the risk of severe disease, including hospitalisation and death, from Covid.
“The expansion of eligibility is an important next step in building community protection from Covid and increasing booster rates,” she said.
Those that are eligible for the winter dose, but have had a recent infection of Covid, are advised to delay their winter booster until three months after their infection.
ATAGI recommends everyone in Australia over the age of 6 months receive an influenza vaccination, which can be given at the same time as Covid vaccines.