26 September 2023

Winter vaccination OK for vulnerable

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The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has recommended a winter booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for high-risk groups.

In a statement, ATAGI said the winter booster, which would be a fourth dose for the majority of those eligible, covered groups which had received their primary vaccination course and a third booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Eligible groups are those aged 65 years and older; residents of aged care or disability care facilities; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and older; and people aged 16 years and older with severe immune-suppression who are already on their fourth dose,” ATAGI said.

“It means this last group will be obtaining their fifth dose, as part of the winter booster program,” it said.

ATAGI said it did not currently recommend a fourth dose for healthy people who were not in one of these above groups, however, people could seek further advice from their GP or health professional.

“The winter booster dose can be given from four months or longer after the person has received their third dose or last booster dose, or four months after a confirmed COVID-19 infection,” it said.

“The rollout of the additional dose for these groups has begun, with vaccines available now.”

Premier, Mark McGowan said this was an important recommendation that would further protect at-risk Western Australians from severe illness and reduce hospitalisations over winter.

Minister for Health, Amber-Jade Sanderson said the winter booster was crucial as the State headed towards what was typically the busiest time of the year for the health system.

“Western Australia’s COVID-19 vaccination rate has helped us navigate through the current outbreak and I thank those who have already rolled up for WA,” Ms Sanderson said.

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