- The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster dose for individuals aged 18 years and over.
- Completion of a two-dose vaccination schedule will continue to be the priority of the Australian government.
- A booster dose may also be given to severely immunocompromised people aged 12 years and older.
Vaccination has been the most critical tool in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. Australia has also been making attempts to increase the vaccine rollout.
As part of its efforts to provide better protection against the emerging variants of the coronavirus, the Australian government has approved a third dose or a booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, COMIRNATY. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)-approved vaccine will be available for individuals aged 18 years and over.
Meanwhile, completion of a two-dose vaccination schedule will continue to remain foremost in the current prioritisation and outbreak response strategies of the government to ensure strong protection against severe illness and hospitalisation.
Salient details to remember
- The third dose can be taken at least six months after the completion of the primary course of any COVID-19 vaccine registered for use in Australia.
- For any additional dose, one must complete the primary vaccination series. Individuals who have received one dose of COMIRNATY should preferably receive a second dose of COMIRNATY before the booster dose.
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As of now, the Australian government has issued provisional approval for four COVID-19 vaccines from the following sponsors:
- Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd (Comirnaty)
- AstraZeneca Pty Ltd (Vaxzevria)
- Janssen-Cilag Pty Ltd (COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen)
- Moderna Australia Pty Ltd. (Spikevax)
To harmonise regulatory approaches, the TGA is working closely with international regulators.
Also read: COVID-19 vaccine booster shots: do we really need them?
Booster dose for severely immunocompromised Australians
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The TGA Product Information (PI) has stated that a third COVID-19 vaccine dose may also be given to severely immunocompromised Australians aged 12 years and older at least 28 days after the second dose to upheave their protection against COVID-19 to the highest level.
The decision has been taken following health advice and suggestions from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) and other leading vaccination experts.
In Australia, approximately 500,000 people are severely immunocompromised. There is a possibility that they may have a weaker immune response to a COVID-19 vaccine and remain at a greater risk of infection due to coronavirus. The specific cohort includes individuals being treated for cancer, organ failure, or being treated with a range of immunosuppressive or biologic therapies.
The ATAGI will furnish all the required information on the use of boosters to the government to avoid any negligence.