More Australians can receive a fourth COVID vaccine dose from 11 July, after the Government accepted ATAGI’s updated advice to help reduce severe disease and the health system impact as BA.4 and BA.5 subvariant infections surge.
ATAGI specifically recommended that:
- people aged 50 to 64 years should have their fourth dose
- people aged 30 to 49 years may choose to have a fourth dose
- the interval between vaccine doses, or prior infection (whichever comes later), be reduced from four months to three months to provide earlier additional protection.
Those already eligible for the fourth dose – including people aged 16 to 64 with certain risks factors and those aged 65 years and over, are also strongly encouraged to have it as soon as possible. ATAGI said these groups remain at higher risk of severe disease and death from COVID.
ATAGI did not support making the fourth dose available to healthy adults under the age of 30 years as it was not clear whether the benefits outweighed the risks in this population group.
To help doctors navigate the many challenges associated with managing COVID and the vaccination rollout, we have compiled responses to members’ FAQs. These are regularly updated below: