March 25, 2022

Adults aged over 65 – and people at the highest risk of severe illness – will soon be eligible to receive a fourth COVID-19 vaccination.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) announced the recommendation on Friday.

ATAGI has recommended that the rollout of the additional booster dose start in April, coinciding with the rollout of the 2022 flu vaccination program.

The fourth dose can be given four months after the first booster shoot.

It aims to increase protection for vulnerable groups ahead of winter and an expected surge in COVID-19 cases.

The fourth shot will be available for people aged over 65 (or aged 50 for First Nations residents); aged and disability care residents and people who are severely immunocompromised.

“The extra dose is about preventing the most vulnerable from harm and those most at risk of severe illness,” Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly said.

“The evidence-based advice is to go for the high-risk groups in the first instance.”

Flu shots can be co-administered with the COVID-19 booster.

Cases are currently spiking around Australia due to the more transmissible BA.2 variant of Omicron.

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