The Australian Government has accepted the latest advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) on the use of new COVID-19 XBB 1.5 vaccine as part of the National COVID-19 Vaccine Program.
All available COVID-19 vaccines continue to provide strong protection against serious disease. The new XBB 1.5 vaccines have been found to provide modest improved protection against the COVID-19 strains circulating in the community. The XBB 1.5 vaccines will be available along with the existing bivalent vaccines.
There is no change to current vaccine eligibility recommendations. The new vaccine is a good reminder for people to get vaccinated if they haven’t had their recommended dose(s) in 2023. For people who have had their 2023 COVID-19 vaccination(s) they do not need to get vaccinated again and remain well protected against severe disease from COVID-19.
Pfizer’s monovalent XBB.1.5 vaccine will be available for use in eligible people aged 5 years and older, while the Moderna monovalent XBB.1.5 vaccine can be used for those aged 12 years and older. You can check your eligibility here.
Providers can order this new vaccine, with doses being delivered ready to administer from 11 December 2023. Sites that receive their orders earlier than this date can commence administration as soon as they receive them.
ATAGI continues to review all available evidence on COVID-19 vaccines, infection rates and risk of severe disease and will make further recommendations in early 2024.
Quotes attributable to Minister Butler:
“These new vaccines will help protect Australians against current strains of COVID-19 and demonstrate the Government’s ongoing commitment to provide access to the latest and most effective vaccines.
“Vaccination reduces the risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19, particularly for older adults and those who are immunocompromised.
“While we are no longer in the emergency phase of this pandemic, COVID-19 is still present, and people should continue to follow the advice of the experts from ATAGI, including getting vaccines as required.”