New COVID-19 boosters approved for use in Australia
New monovalent COVID-19 Omicron XBB.1.5 vaccines have been approved for use in Australia, following advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI).
Pfizer’s XBB.1.5 vaccine will be available for use in eligible people aged 5 years and older, while both Pfizer and Moderna’s XBB.1.5 vaccines will be available for those aged 12 years and older.
Director of Public Health, Dr Mark Veitch said the approval of the new boosters are welcome and are another important reminder for Tasmanians to get vaccinated if they’re due.
“Vaccination remains the best defence against serious harms from COVID-19, including hospitalisation and death,” Dr Veitch said.
“With COVID-19 activity increasing in recent weeks, this is another important reminder to ensure you and those around you are up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations.
“For most adults, this means having a 2023 booster, and for older Tasmanians, or those with additional risk factors, it means having a second booster if it has been six months since infection or your last vaccine.”
While the new vaccines will be rolled out and available for use in Tasmania from mid- December, Dr Veitch urged Tasmanians not to wait if they’re due now.
“All currently available vaccines remain safe and effective so if you haven’t had a booster in the last six months, book in now and protect yourself,” Dr Veitch said.
"The best vaccine you can have, is the one available to you now.
“In particular, if you have elderly relatives or friends, ask them when their last booster was. If it’s been over six months, urge them to book a booster soon to protect themselves through summer.
“Immunity against COVID-19 wanes over time and boosters maintain protection against severe illness.”
There is no change to current vaccine eligibility recommendations. Everyone aged 65 years and older is recommended to have a 2023 COVID-19 booster, and those aged 18 to 64 years should consider a 2023 booster.
A second 2023 booster is also recommended for all adults aged 75 years and older, and younger adults with risk factors for serious illness, if six months have passed since their last dose.
The ATAGI statement can be found here.