ATAGI update following weekly COVID-19 meeting – 3 August 2022
An update from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) following their weekly meeting on 3 August 2022
Latest recommendation updates
Recent ATAGI considerations
On Wednesday 3 August 2022, ATAGI met to consider the latest developments relating to COVID-19 immunisation. As of 1 August, over 62 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Australia.
Impact of COVID-19 vaccination on children aged 6 months to under 5 years
Following careful deliberation, ATAGI has recommended COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 6 months to under 5 years age with severe immunocompromise, disability, and those who have complex and/or multiple health conditions which increase the risk of severe COVID-19.
Details of the ATAGI decision can be found in the recommendations on COVID-19 vaccine use in children aged 6 months to <5 years. This ATAGI recommendation follows the TGA provisional approval of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (SPIKEVAX) for use in children from 6 months of age on 19 July 2022.
The Australian Government is working with state and territory governments, and health professionals, to expand the rollout to the highest risk children aged 6 months to under 5 years from 5 September 2022.
ATAGI does not currently recommend COVID-19 vaccination for children in this age group not in the listed high-risk categories for severe COVID-19. In making its recommendation, ATAGI carefully considered disease burden in this age group, as well as the efficacy and safety of the Moderna vaccine in this cohort.
This age group is one of the least likely to experience severe outcomes of COVID-19 such as hospitalisation and death. In the rare instances of severe outcomes, underlying medical conditions or immunocompromise are frequently present.
ATAGI continues to review the evidence on the disease burden and epidemiology, vaccine supply, emerging data on vaccine use and availability of any new COVID-19 vaccines for this age group and will update recommendations as required.
Consideration of Novavax COVID-19 vaccination for 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 continued their 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.
Review of COVID-19 booster doses for adolescents aged 12-15 years
As part of a 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), and international recommendations on COVID-19 booster use in people aged 12-15 years.
ATAGI’s recommendation from 9 June 2022 regarding the use of a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine in people aged 12-15 years remains unchanged.
ATAGI recommends that a first booster dose of the Comirnaty (Pfizer) COVID-19 vaccine may be given to the following adolescents aged 12-15 years who have completed a primary course of vaccination 3 or more months ago:
- those who are severely immunocompromised
- those who have a disability with significant or complex health needs
- those who have complex and/or multiple health conditions that increase the risk of severe COVID-19.
ATAGI does not recommend that a first booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine be given to all adolescents aged 12-15 years. There is insufficient evidence of severe disease in otherwise healthy adolescents in this age group who have already received two primary doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
ATAGI continues to recommend that all adolescents aged 12-15 years complete a primary vaccine course of 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, 8 weeks apart. A third primary dose from 2 months after dose 2 is recommended for those who are severely immunocompromised.
Ongoing review of COVID-19 vaccine safety
The TGA Fortnightly 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:
- 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