26 September 2023

Winter vaccination to boost the vulnerable

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A fourth shot of COVID-19 vaccine is to be available to vulnerable Canberrans as winter approaches to provide additional protection ahead of the cooler months.

Announced by the Minister for Health, Rachel Stephen-Smith, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation approved the additional vaccination for specific cohorts.

“A winter dose will be available from April for a number of Canberrans at ACT Government clinics four months from their booster dose,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

“This is very welcome news and provides Canberrans who are more at risk of severe outcomes as a result of contracting COVID-19 with boosted protection,” she said.

“This is particularly important as we head into winter, where we will see both COVID-19 and influenza circulating in our community.”

Ms Stephen-Smith said the second booster shot would be available to adults aged 65 and over; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and older; and residents of aged care or disability care settings.

The Minister said people aged 16 years and older who were severely immunocompromised and had already had a fourth dose would also become eligible for a winter booster in April.

“COVID-19 is still very much in our community and it’s important that we do everything we can to protect ourselves and those around us and being up to date with our vaccinations is key,” she said.

“For Canberrans who haven’t yet had a third dose, getting your COVID-19 booster is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself, your family and the community from COVID-19.”

The Minister said even people who had had COVID-19 could and should still get a booster to provide them with the best protection against further infections.

“While you may choose to delay vaccination for up to four months after recovering from COVID-19, you can get your booster shot at any time once you are fully recovered,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

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