ATAGI update following weekly COVID-19 meeting – 25 May 2022
An update from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) following their weekly meeting on 25 May 2022.
Latest recommendation updates
- Expanded ATAGI recommendations on winter COVID-19 booster doses for people at increased risk of severe COVID-19 including updated advice on groups recommended to receive an additional (Winter) booster.
Recent ATAGI considerations
On Wednesday 25 May 2022, ATAGI met to consider the latest developments relating to COVID-19 immunisation. As of 23 May 2022, over 58 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Australia.
Following a thorough examination of local and international evidence on the use of COVID-19 vaccines, booster doses and epidemiology, ATAGI have recommended the COVID-19 booster rollout program be expanded. A winter booster dose is now recommended for people aged 16-64 years who have:
- a medical condition that increases their risk of severe COVID-19 illness; and
- a disability with significant or complex health needs or multiple comorbidities which increase the risk of poor outcomes from COVID-19.
The Australian Government has accepted this recommendation and this change will take effect from Monday 30 May 2022.
The primary goal of the Australian COVID-19 vaccine program is to minimise the risk of severe disease, including hospitalisation and death, from COVID-19.
As such, ATAGI have recommended this change to ensure those who are at greater risk of developing severe disease receive the best possible protection throughout the winter months.
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 due for the winter dose but have had a recent infection of COVID-19 should delay their winter booster until 3 months after their infection.
ATAGI continue to emphasise the importance of remaining up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations by receiving the primary course and a booster dose, with three doses providing protection against severe disease, hospitalisation and death for healthy people.
ATAGI will continue to monitor disease modelling and the epidemiology of COVID-19 and may recommend wider vaccination to combat rapid increases in disease transmission in the future if the need arises.
ATAGI also recommends everyone in Australia over the age of 6 months should receive an influenza vaccination. Influenza vaccinations can be given at the same time as COVID-19 vaccines and should not be delayed.
Evidence for boosters for people aged 12-15 years and impact of vaccination on long COVID
As part of the regular review into existing recommendations, ATAGI considered new data on burden of COVID-19 disease (benefits of vaccination), risk of side effects (risks of vaccination), international recommendations and uncertainties in the current evidence with respect to COVID-19 booster use in people aged 12-15 years.
ATAGI also considered information on prolonged symptoms after COVID-19 (also known as long COVID) and the impacts of vaccination on long COVID.
ATAGI will continue to review all available and emerging evidence on the use of COVID-19 vaccines and long COVID.
Ongoing review of adverse events and safety information
The TGA Weekly Report provides a detailed breakdown of adverse events following immunisation, including Australian rates of myocarditis and pericarditis.
Resources and recent statements
More information can be found in the following resources:
- 25 May 2022: Expanded ATAGI recommendations on winter COVID-19 booster doses for people at increased risk of severe COVID-19
- 29 April 2022: Guidance on Myocarditis and Pericarditis after mRNA COVID-19 vaccines
- 29 April 2022: ATAGI Clinical Guidance for COVID-19 vaccine providers
- 8 April 2022: ATAGI statement on use of booster doses in adolescents aged 12-15 years
- 25 March 2022: ATAGI recommendations on a winter booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine
- 2 March 2022: ATAGI updated advice on COVID-19 booster vaccinations