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Boosters and additional doses – COVID-19 | Health and wellbeing

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It’s important to keep your COVID-19 vaccinations up-to-date, which means having all boosters you are eligible for. Getting boosters will provide an extra layer of protection against COVID-19.

  • All Queenslanders aged 16 and over who have had 2 COVID-19 vaccine doses more than 3 months ago should get a third COVID-19 vaccine dose (first booster).
  • People aged 50 and over, and those at greater risk of severe illness, are recommended to have a fourth dose (a second booster, also called a winter dose), from 3 months after the first booster dose.
  • People aged 30 to 49 can also get a fourth dose (second booster) if they choose.
  • Even if you’ve had COVID-19, you should still get your boosters after an interval of 3 months.
  • Children aged 5 to 15 should get 2 COVID-19 vaccine doses. Boosters are not currently recommended for this age group unless they are immunocompromised.

Groups at greater risk

People who are at greater risk should get a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose (second booster, also called a winter dose). Boosters are very important for people at greater risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, including people:

  • aged 50 years and older
  • who are severely immunocompromised
  • living in aged care and disability care accommodation
  • who are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People aged 50 years and older
  • with a medical condition that increases the risk of severe COVID-19 illness
  • with disability with significant or complex health needs or multiple comorbidities which increase risk of poor outcome.

Boosters

First booster dose eligibility

You are eligible for your first booster (third dose) if you are:

  • aged 16 years and older, and
  • it has been at least 3 months since your second COVID-19 vaccine dose.

Second booster dose eligibility

You are eligible for your second booster (fourth dose) if it has been at least 3 months since your first COVID-19 vaccine booster dose and you are:

  • aged 30 years or older, or
  • at greater risk of severe disease.

Vaccine types for booster doses

  • The Pfizer (Comirnaty) and Moderna (Spikevax) vaccines are recommended for your booster dose regardless of which vaccine you had for your first 2 doses.
  • You can also receive the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) vaccine if you can’t have the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for medical reasons. The AstraZeneca vaccine is no longer recommended as a booster dose for people who have had 2 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine previously, although it can still be used for this purpose if people decline receiving an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer and Moderna vaccines) as a booster dose.
  • The Novavax (Nuvaxovid) may be used for people aged 18 and over if you can’t have the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for medical reasons.

Safety of COVID-19 booster doses

  • Common, mild side effects following a booster dose are similar to the side effects following the first 2 doses.
  • Serious side effects such as myocarditis and pericarditis following a Pfizer or Moderna booster dose are rare.

Difference between additional doses and boosters

Additional doses are for severely immunocompromised people as part of their primary course. Additional doses are not the same as booster doses.

Severely immunocompromised people aged 5 and over are strongly encouraged to receive a third primary dose of the COVID-19 vaccine 2 months after the second dose. This is because you may have a decreased immune response to the standard COVID-19 vaccination schedule and be more at risk from severe COVID-19. This additional dose is to maximise your level of immune response to as close as possible to the general population.

Additional dose vaccine types

An mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) or the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine can be used for the third primary dose. Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) is not preferred for this dose.

  • AstraZeneca can be used for the third dose for individuals who have received AstraZeneca for their first 2 doses if there are no contraindications or precautions for use, or if a significant adverse reaction has occurred after a previous mRNA vaccine dose which contraindicates further doses of mRNA vaccine (e.g. anaphylaxis, myocarditis).
  • There are limited data on the immunogenicity or efficacy of Novavax in people with immunocompromise.

Vaccination records and certificates

If you need proof of your full vaccination course, download your Immunisation History Statement from the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) through:

  • the myGov website using your Medicare online account
  • the Medicare Express Plus app
  • My Health Record
  • if you don’t have a Medicare card, by calling 1800 653 809.

Vaccination after having COVID-19

Even if you’ve had COVID-19, you should still get vaccinated. You are far less likely to get severe disease should you get COVID-19 again if you have been vaccinated.

You should wait for 3 months after confirmation that you had COVID-19 before receiving your next COVID-19 vaccine dose (including any booster) and then get your next scheduled dose as soon as possible after this period.

You must not attend a vaccination appointment if you have any COVID-19 symptoms.

How to book

Use the COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Finder to find a location to get your booster or additional doses. Speak with your GP or treating specialist to discuss your individual circumstances if you are immunocompromised. You do not need to return to where you got your primary course of COVID-19 vaccine. The date you had your vaccine doses is on your COVID-19 digital certificate or immunisation history statement.

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