ATAGI: Australians aged over 75 should receive another covid booster if six months have passed since their last dose, and some other groups should consider it.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation has updated advice on covid-19 vaccines once again, this time recommending that all adults aged 75+ “should” receive an additional dose if it has been more than six months since their last booster shot.
This is independent of how many booster shots they may have already received.
It’s a slight change in language, with ATAGI advising other groups – including all people over 65 and those who are 65 and under but severely immunocompromised – to merely “consider” an additional covid booster.
No further doses are currently recommended for people under 65 who aren’t immunocompromised, so long as they’ve already had one booster shot in 2023.
Because the baseline risk of severe illness for this group is very low if they have already been vaccinated, ATAGI has decided that an additional 2023 booster would offer little additional benefit even if it had been longer than six months since their last jab.
“Furthermore, much of the population now has ‘hybrid immunity’, a combination of protection from previous vaccination and prior infection,” ATAGI said.
“This is supported by serosurveillance conducted at the end of 2022, which indicates that about 70% of the adult population and 64% of children had evidence of infection with SARS-CoV-2.”
So far this year, about 3.8 million covid boosters have been administered, including around 66% of people living in residential care.
Age continues to be the strongest risk factor for severe disease, but ATAGI estimates that just half of people aged 65 and older have received a booster shot in the last six months.
“These data reflect that a significant proportion of adults ? 65 years of age, and particularly aged care residents, should be strongly encouraged to receive a covid vaccine now,” ATAGI said.
Health Minister Mark Butler encouraged people to continue following the advisory group’s vaccination advice.
“For other people who were advised to get a 2023 booster but haven’t had one, it’s not too late to come forward and get one,” he said.