ATAGI update following weekly COVID-19 meeting – 29 June 2022

An update from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) following their weekly meeting on 29 June 2022.

Date published:
General public

Latest recommendation updates

  • Recommendations on the use of Nuvaxovid (Novavax) COVID-19 boosters for people aged 18 years and older have been updated.

Recent ATAGI considerations

On Wednesday 29 June 2022, ATAGI met to consider the latest developments relating to COVID-19 immunisation. As of 28 June 2022, over 60 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Australia.

Novavax boosters

On 9 June 2022 the Therapeutic Goods Administration provisionally approved Nuvaxovid (Novavax) COVID-19 vaccine for use as a booster dose in people aged 18 years and older.

ATAGI have updated their recommendations for use of Novavax COVID-19 vaccine as a booster dose. mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) remain the preferred COVID-19 vaccines for use as a booster dose in people aged 18 years and older.

Although not preferred, AstraZeneca or Novavax can be used as a booster dose in the following circumstances:

  • People who have a contraindication to mRNA vaccines (including those who have had a serious adverse event following mRNA vaccines, e.g., a history of anaphylaxis or myocarditis attributed to an mRNA vaccine)
  • People who do not prefer an mRNA vaccine.

Review of additional booster (winter) doses

As outlined in ATAGI statements on winter booster doses (25 March 2022 and 25 May 2022), ATAGI continue to review evidence on the need for winter booster doses for people outside of the currently identified high-risk groups.

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.

This week ATAGI reviewed epidemiology, vaccine protection, and disease severity in healthy people aged 16 to 64 years (not currently recommended to receive an additional booster dose).

In the coming weeks ATAGI will review information including epidemiology, and variant-specific vaccines for COVID-19. Recommendations may be updated as required.

ATAGI continue to emphasise the importance of remaining up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations by receiving the primary course and one or two booster doses according to eligibility. The booster doses provide additional protection against severe disease, hospitalisation and death as compared with the primary course. 

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.

Impact of COVID-19 on children aged 6 months to 5 years

ATAGI have begun reviewing data on the impact of COVID-19 on children aged 6 months to 5 years, including the burden of disease in this age group. Currently, there are no TGA-approved COVID-19 vaccines for use in this age group.

Separate to COVID vaccines, all children aged 6 months to less than 5 years are at particular risk of influenza and recommended and funded under the National Immunisation Program to receive an influenza vaccine to help protect them.

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:

More information can be found on the Department of Health website, with resources for both providers and patients.

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