26 September 2023

Fourth vaccination for vulnerable in winter

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People at most risk of severe illness from COVID-19 are to receive a fourth vaccination shot as the country heads into winter.

Following advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt announced the additional dose was to be administered from four months after a person’s initial booster dose.

Mr Hunt said the fourth shot was recommended for adults aged 65 years and older; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 50; residents of aged care and disability care facilities; and people aged 16 years and older who were severely immunocompromised.

“Similar to other respiratory viruses such as the flu, it is likely an increase in COVID-19 cases will be seen over winter,” he said.

“Although COVID-19 is prevalent year-round, the cold weather can make it easier for viruses to infect our bodies.

“A booster is your best protection against the most severe impacts of COVID and may provide protection against long COVID.”

The Minister said for this reason, the Australians considered most at risk should ideally receive their winter COVID-19 dose before winter.

“This new dose can be provided at the same time as the annual flu vaccine if it has been at least four months since an individual received their last booster,” Mr Hunt said.

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