Latest recommendation updates
ATAGI have not published any recommendations since 7 July 2022. Recent meeting deliberations can be found on the ATAGI page.
Recent ATAGI considerations
On Wednesday 27 July 2022, ATAGI met to consider the latest developments relating to COVID-19 immunisation. As of 25 July 2022, over 61 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Australia.
Impact of COVID-19 vaccination on children aged 6 months to 4 years
Following the TGA provisional approval of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (SPIKEVAX) for use in children from 6 months of age on 19 July 2022, ATAGI have continued to discuss use of COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 6 months to 4 years, including considerations around program implementation and healthcare provider training.
ATAGI is currently finalising advice to the Minister for Health and Aged Care on the use of COVID-19 vaccines in this age group.
Ongoing review of COVID-19 vaccine safety
ATAGI has a COVID19 vaccine safety subgroup that continues to meet fortnightly. As part of this ongoing review of safety information, ATAGI has considered international and Australian safety data which shows that the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis appears to be higher with Moderna’s than Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine and is highest in younger males aged 16-30 years.
Although most cases have a relatively mild and self-limiting course, follow up studies suggest that a small proportion of cases have myocardial scarring, the long-term significance of which is uncertain.
Studies also suggest that the risk of myocarditis is higher following second dose compared to first and third doses, where there is a short interval between vaccine doses, (i.e. less than 8-weeks) and in males compared to females.
ATAGI emphasises that the overwhelming benefits of vaccination in protecting against COVID-19 greatly outweigh the very low risk of post-vaccination myocarditis or pericarditis.
Following the full ATAGI committees deliberations this week, ATAGI have not changed the current vaccine recommendations for primary course or booster doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
COVID-19 vaccination providers and patients are encouraged to review the Guidance on Myocarditis and Pericarditis after mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines, which will be updated shortly with further information on safety data to allow individuals and healthcare providers to make an informed risk-benefit decision.
The TGA Fortnightly Report provides a detailed breakdown of adverse events following immunisation, including Australian rates of myocarditis and pericarditis.
Consideration of Novavax COVID-19 vaccination of children aged 12-17 years
ATAGI note on 28 July 2022 the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) provisionally approved the Nuvaxovid (Novavax) COVID-19 vaccine for use in children from aged 12 – 17 years.
ATAGI have commenced a review of data on the use of Novavax COVID-19 vaccine in this age group and will provide advice to the Minister for Health and Aged Care in due course.
Resources and recent statements
More information can be found in the following resources:
- 7 July 2022: ATAGI updated recommendations for a winter dose of COVID-19 vaccine | Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care
- 9 June 2022 – on the use of a first booster dose in adolescents aged 12-15 years
- 25 May 2022 – expanded ATAGI recommendations on winter COVID-19 booster doses for people at increased risk of severe COVID-19
- 8 April 2022 – on use of booster doses in adolescents aged 12-15 years
More information can be found on the Department of Health and Aged Care website, with resources for both providers and patients.