COVID-19 vaccine booster doses and third doses

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See our latest COVID-19 vaccine news.

COVID-19 vaccine booster doses

If you’ve had 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, a booster dose will provide you with even more protection against falling seriously ill from COVID-19.

A booster dose may also reduce the potential of infected individuals to transmit the virus to others.

ATAGI has recommended the Pfizer (Comirnaty) and Moderna (Spikevax) COVID-19 vaccines as the approved vaccines for COVID-19 booster vaccinations.

Who can get a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose?

You can get a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose if:

  • you are aged 18 years and over
  • you’ve had 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, and
  • your second dose of COVID-19 vaccine was 3 months ago.

This includes people who received another COVID-19 vaccine brand (AstraZeneca) for their first 2 doses.

Severely immunocompromised individuals who have received 3 doses are recommended a booster dose (fourth dose) 3 months after their third dose.

Booster vaccinations are currently not recommended if you are aged under 18 years of age

If you are unsure about getting a COVID-19 booster vaccination, speak to your GP or another trusted health care professional to help you make an informed decision.

Where and how to book in for your booster

You can get a booster dose at:

Booster doses for Residential Aged Care Facilities

The Australian Government is responsible for the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination program in Residential Aged Care Facilities.

More information about this is available on the Australian Department of Health website.

COVID-19 vaccine third doses for severely immunocompromised individuals

ATAGI recommends a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine as part of the primary course in individuals who are severely immunocompromised. More information about this, including guidelines on who is considered immunocompromised is available on the Australian Department of Health website.

An mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) is preferred for third dose vaccinations.

People who had a significant adverse reaction after a previous mRNA vaccine dose (Pfizer or Moderna), like anaphylaxis or myocarditis, should speak to their GP or treating health professional about getting the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) vaccine for their booster dose.

Severely immunocompromised individuals who have received 3 doses are recommended a booster dose (fourth dose) 3 months after their third dose.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between a third dose and a booster dose?

Booster doses

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has released updated advice on COVID-19 booster doses and third doses for immunocompromised people.

ATAGI have recommended a booster dose for adults, 3 months after their second dose.

In addition, immunocompromised individuals who have received 3 doses are recommended a booster dose (fourth dose) 3 months after their third dose.

Further information on COVID-19 booster vaccination is available on the Australian Department of Health website.

Third doses

Third doses are for severely immunocompromised people as an additional dose to their 2 dose primary course.

It is for people where 2 doses are not as effective.

The third dose aims to maximise the level of immune response to as close as possible to the general population.

A minimum interval of 4 weeks may be considered in exceptional circumstances.

A third dose is not classified as a booster.

Severely immunocompromised individuals who have received 3 doses are recommended a booster dose (fourth dose) 3 months after their third dose.

If you are severely immunocompromised, talk to your healthcare provider about whether a third dose is right for you.

Booster doses

Do I have to get a booster dose?

Boosters are recommended to ensure you maximise your protection against becoming severely unwell from COVID-19.

If you are unsure about getting a booster dose, speak to your GP or another trusted health care professional to make an informed decision for your health.

What are the benefits of getting a COVID-19 booster dose?

Booster doses are anticipated to increase protection from severe disease.

A booster dose may also reduce the potential of infected individuals to transmit the virus to others.

Can I get a booster dose that isn’t the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine?

If you had a significant adverse reaction after a previous mRNA vaccine dose (Pfizer or Moderna), like anaphylaxis or myocarditis, you should speak to your GP or treating health professional about getting a third primary dose of the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) vaccine.

How long after my booster vaccination will I need to get another COVID-19 vaccination?

This is not yet known.

ATAGI will provide advice on this in due course.

Will my booster dose be recorded in the Australian Immunisation Register?

The clinic where you receive your COVID-19 booster dose will record it in the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).

It’s important to know that you’re considered fully vaccinated once you’ve received 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

This means your vaccination status currently does not change in the AIR once you’ve had a booster dose.

It hasn’t yet been 3 months since my second dose of COVID-19. Can I book a booster earlier?

Booster doses can be only be booked by people who received their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine 3 months ago.

If I have a booster vaccination, can I still get COVID-19?

If you’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19 there’s still a possibility that you could contract or transmit the virus to others.

Boosters are recommended to ensure you maximise your protection against becoming severely unwell from COVID-19.

While the booster dose can maximise protection against becoming severely unwell from COVID-19, it’s still important to continue taking COVID-19 safe behaviours, even after you’ve been vaccinated.

This will also help to reduce the likelihood of transmission of COVID-19 to others.

Can I get my COVID-19 booster vaccine and other types of vaccines, like the flu vaccine, at the same time?

ATAGI recommends that it is acceptable to co-administer a COVID-19 booster vaccine dose with an influenza (flu) vaccine.

Data on the potential for co-administration with other vaccines is currently being reviewed.

Detailed information on this will be included in the upcoming revised ATAGI Clinical Guidance on Use of COVID-19 Vaccine in Australia.

Should I still get a booster dose if I've had COVID-19

Booster doses are recommended for people who have had COVID-19 in the past.

Getting the booster will help protect you against getting infected with COVID-19 again or passing it onto someone else.

While you may have some natural immunity after being infected, the protection gained varies from person to person.

It’s not yet clear how long any natural immunity might last for.

After you have recovered from COVID-19, we recommend you talk to a GP or health care provider for advice on the best timing for vaccination.

You can get vaccinated any time after you have recovered and have been released from isolation.

In some cases, people may choose to delay vaccination for up to 6 months.

When can people aged 12-17 get a booster dose?

We are awaiting advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisations (ATAGI) about when this age group will be eligible for booster vaccinations.

We will let the community know when we have more information.

When can I get a second booster dose?

We are awaiting advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisations (ATAGI) about when further boosters may be needed. We will let the community know when we have more information.

Third doses

Who can get a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine?

People aged 12 years and over who are severely immunocompromised are recommended a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

If you are severely immunocompromised you should reach out to your GP or treating specialist to discuss your individual circumstances.

Severely immunocompromised individuals who have received 3 doses are recommended a booster dose (fourth dose) 3 months after their third dose.

How long after my second dose should I get a third dose?

It is recommended that people who are severely immunocompromised receive a COVID-19 vaccine 2 to 6 months after the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

A minimum interval of 4 weeks may be considered in exceptional circumstances.

Which vaccine should I get as my third dose?

An mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) is preferred for third dose vaccinations.

If you had a significant adverse reaction after a previous mRNA vaccine dose (Pfizer or Moderna), like anaphylaxis or myocarditis, you should speak to your GP or treating health professional about getting a third primary dose of the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) vaccine.

Speak to your GP or treating specialist about whether a COVID-19 booster vaccination is right for you.

Do I have to get a third dose?

Third doses are recommended for people who are severely immunocompromised to ensure you maximise your protection as close as possible to the general population.

If you are severely immunocompromised you should reach out to your GP or treating specialist to discuss your individual circumstances and whether a third dose is right for you.

Will my third dose be recorded in the Australian Immunisation Register? 

The clinic where you receive your third dose will record it in the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR).

It’s important to know that you’re considered fully vaccinated once you’ve received 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

This means your vaccination status currently doesn’t change in the AIR once you’ve had a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

More information

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Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.

Last Updated: January 21 2022