Australians aged 18 and over will now have the choice to receive a Moderna COVID-19 booster shot following approval from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI).
Spikevax (Moderna) joins Comirnaty (Pfizer) as the preferred vaccines for the booster doses – irrespective of what vaccine a person received for their primary course of vaccination.
ATAGI has also updated its advice and recommends booster doses be provided from five months after completion of the primary course, given the likelihood of ongoing transmission of both Omicron and Delta variants.
Everyone living in Australia aged 18 and over who has completed their primary two-dose course of vaccination at least five months ago is now eligible to have an additional booster shot. This was previously recommended to be six months from a second dose.
A booster dose, five or more months after the second dose, will make sure that the protection from the primary course is even stronger and longer lasting and should help prevent spread of the virus.
Data from Israel shows boosters supporting reductions in the rate of infection in eligible age groups, severe disease in those aged over 40 years and deaths in those over 60 years.
Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, said Australia was one of the first countries to roll out a whole-of-population booster program, with more than 670,000 Australians having already received more than two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“Australia’s whole-of-population booster program is supported by more than 151 million Pfizer, Novavax and Moderna vaccines secured for supply into the future,” Minister Hunt said.
“Australia is well prepared to provide booster doses as approvals are provided by the medical experts.
“Australia is a vaccination nation with more than 40 million COVID-19 vaccines having been administered to date, over 93 per cent of eligible Australians aged 16 and older have received a first dose and over 89 per cent have now received a second dose.”
Since 11 October, Australians who are severely immunocompromised have been able to receive a third COVID-19 vaccine dose to boost their protection against COVID-19 to the highest level.
The TGA and the expert medical body ATAGI has been closely monitoring local and international data about the frequency and severity of COVID 19 infection in fully vaccinated individuals to inform booster strategies.
The Moderna booster dosage is half that of the primary course dosage.
Subject to the readiness of providers, both the availability of Moderna for a booster and the access from five months will come into effect immediately.
There are over 8,500 GP’s, Community Pharmacies, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, Commonwealth and State clinics providing access to either or both of Moderna and Pfizer for boosters.
Individual clinics and State and Territory clinics will be free to commence immediately and will indicate when they are ready to provide boosters subject to bookings.
To date, over 670,000 boosters have already been completed. This is ahead of schedule and anticipated completions to date.