Australia’s vaccinations advisory group has brought forward by a month its recommended date for people to get a third COVID-19 vaccination dose.
ATAGI is now recommending that Australians get their third doses from five months after their second dose, as the group expects continued transmission of the Omicron and Delta variants.
Moderna has also been provisionally approved for use in booster shots, alongside already approved Pfizer doses. The booster program is currently only available for adults.
“Australia is well prepared to provide booster doses as approvals are provided by the medical experts,” health minister Greg Hunt said.
Department of Health secretary Brendan Murphy said experts have found waning immunity against COVID-19 in people approaching the six-month mark after having their second dose.
“On that basis, ATAGI, who are looking at this every single week, have decided that at the moment, it’s best to bring forward the booster eligibility date to five months to give people that time to get their booster before they reach the six-month mark,” Murphy said.
“We are still protected with our primary vaccination, people shouldn’t be worried. But boosters are very important to give that extra immunity, particularly as the Omicron variant is likely to spread around the world.”
It came as Queensland opened its borders to hotspots on Monday.
Fully vaccinated people from COVID-19 hotspots can now enter the state by road and aircraft without having to quarantine.
The arrivals must have a valid border pass and have tested negative to COVID-19 within 72 hours.
Australia’s east coast states are set to be reunited this week as Tasmania’s borders are also due to reopen on Wednesday to people who have been fully vaccinated and received a negative test within 72 hours.