Boosters and Third Primary Doses

Last Updated: 14 Jun 2022 2:02pm

Booster vaccines

Third (booster) dose

New booster advice for adolescents aged 12-15 years

ATAGI recommends giving a first booster of Pfizer vaccine to adolescents aged 12-15 years who have completed a primary course 3 or more months ago, and who:

  • are severely immunocompromised
  • have a disability with significant or complex health needs
  • have complex and/or multiple health conditions which increase the risk of severe COVID-19.

ATAGI continues to recommend waiting three months between testing positive for COVID-19 and getting the next scheduled dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

NOTE:
  • ATAGI does not recommend a first booster of COVID-19 vaccine for everyone aged 12-15 years.
  • Pfizer vaccine can only be given to eligible 12–15 year olds as a booster.
  • Moderna and Novavax vaccines are not licensed to be used as a first booster for this age group.
  • A second booster dose is not currently recommended for this age group.

Read the ATAGI Statement on first boosters for 12-15 year olds.

ATAGI also recommends everyone 6 months and over, receive a flu shot as soon as practical. All COVID-19 vaccines and flu vaccine can be given on the same day.

16 years and over

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends a third dose (booster), three months after a second dose for:

  • Anyone 16 years and over
  • This includes people who were aged 15 years when they received their second dose and are now aged 16
  • This is commonly known as a booster
  • A person's vaccination status is considered up to date if they have completed their primary vaccination course and received a booster
  • A person is considered overdue if they have not had a booster within six months of their second primary dose.

It is now recommended that all people should wait for 3 months after a confirmed case of COVID infection before they receive their next COVID-19 vaccine dose. The next scheduled dose should then be given as soon as possible after this period. A longer gap between infection and vaccination is likely to lead to a better immune response and result in longer protection from reinfection.

Fourth (winter) dose

A 2nd booster (winter dose) is recommended at an interval of 4 months from the first booster for:

  • People aged 65 years and over
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and over
  • Residents of aged or disability care facilities, regardless of age
  • People aged 16 to 64 who have medical conditions that increase their risk of severe COVID-19 infection. These conditions include:
    • Immunocompromising conditions
    • Cancers
    • 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 the risk of poor outcomes from COVID-19
    • Severe obesity
    • Severely underweight

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.

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. The next scheduled dose should then be given as soon as possible after this period. A longer gap between infection and vaccination is likely to lead to a better immune response and result in longer protection from reinfection.

5 to 15 years

Children aged 5 to 15 years - are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations if they have received both first and second doses. A third dose (booster) is not currently recommended in this age group.

Children aged 5 to 15 years who are immunocompromised - are up to date with their vaccination if they have received a third primary dose.

Adolescents aged 12-15 years – a first booster of Pfizer vaccine is recommended three months after a primary course for people in this age group:

  • who are severely immunocompromised
  • have a disability with significant or complex health needs
  • have complex and/or multiple health conditions which increase the risk of severe COVID-19.

Read the ATAGI Statement on first boosters in 12-15 year olds.

Why you should get a booster

Boosters are not mandatory but help keep up your immunity against COVID-19.

A booster dose will continue to protect you from severe illness with COVID-19.

It is now recommended that all people should wait for 3 months after a confirmed case of COVID infection before they receive their next COVID-19 vaccine dose. The next scheduled dose should then be given as soon as possible after this period. A longer gap between infection and vaccination is likely to lead to a better immune response and result in longer protection from reinfection.

Vaccine types for booster doses (third and fourth dose)

Pfizer and Moderna are the preferred vaccines for COVID-19 boosters including the winter booster dose.

AstraZeneca and Novavax can be given as a booster in certain circumstances. Talk with your doctor about which vaccine you should receive.

Read the ATAGI Statement on COVID-19 winter booster doses

Vaccination status

Your vaccination status is considered up to date if you have completed a primary vaccination course plus a booster (if recommended).

How to get a booster (fourth dose)

Pfizer boosters are available from state-run clinics and participating GPs and pharmacies.

Moderna boosters are available from participating pharmacies.

To get your booster at a state-run community clinic:

  • You can book an appointment by visiting www.coronavirus.tas.gov.au/booking or calling the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.
  • Bookings are preferred however walk-ins are welcome at community clinics

To get your booster at a GP or pharmacy:

Third primary and fourth doses for people with severe immunocompromise

Who should get a third primary dose

A third primary dose received as part of the primary course is different from a booster vaccine.

A third vaccination is recommended for people who are severely immunocompromised as part of their primary course of vaccination.

The third dose should be given between two and six months after the second dose.

Those eligible for a third dose includes:

  • people with active cancers
  • organ transplant recipients
  • recent stem cell transplant recipients
  • people on immunosuppressive medications or taking high dose steroids
  • those born with immunodeficiencies and
  • people on long-term dialysis.

People aged 12-15 years, who are severely immunocompromised, have a disability with significant or complex health needs, or who have complex and/or multiple health conditions increasing the risk of severe COVID-19, can get a COVID-19 booster with Pfizer vaccine.

Vaccine types for third primary doses

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are preferred to AstraZeneca for this third dose, but AstraZeneca can be used for people who have received this vaccine for their first two doses.

How to get a third primary dose

If you think you may be eligible for a third dose of vaccine, talk to your doctor or medical care provider for further information.

To confirm your eligibility at a state-run clinic, you should bring evidence of your COVID-19 vaccination record AND evidence that you are severely immunocompromised. Evidence can include:

  • a letter from your GP or specialist
  • documents showing your medical history
  • a copy of your prescription.

People receiving a third primary dose will also need to complete the Commonwealth Eligibility Declaration Form for a third primary dose. This can be done at the clinic.

Fourth dose for people with severe immunocompromise

People over the age of 16 who are severely immunocompromised and have received a third dose as part of their primary course should get a fourth dose as a booster, three months after their previous dose.