COVID-19 booster doses are now available

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On 28 October 2021, the Australian Government announced COVID-19 vaccination booster doses for people 18 years of age and older.

Read on to find out more about the booster program, and when you can get your booster dose.

Why is there a booster program?

The COVID-19 vaccines available in Australia – Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca), Comirnaty (Pfizer) and Spikevax (Moderna) – are very effective at protecting people from severe disease, having to go to hospital, and death. They also have a significant impact on reducing the risk of getting COVID-19 and passing the virus on to others.

The Australian Government has started rolling out booster doses to people who completed their two-dose primary vaccination course at least six months ago.

It is important people know that two doses of COVID-19 vaccine provide very good protection, especially against severe disease.

A booster dose, six or more months after the second dose, will make sure that the protection from the first doses is even stronger and longer lasting and should help prevent spread of the virus.

Do not rush to get your booster dose before six months of having your initial course, even if you are going overseas or you have other concerns. You can be confident that your two-dose course is giving you full protection for at least six months.

How do I get my COVID-19 vaccine booster dose?

COVID-19 vaccines are free to everyone in Australia. This includes booster doses.

You can go to a doctor, a government vaccination clinic, or a participating pharmacy to get your COVID-19 vaccine booster dose.

To book your COVID-19 vaccine booster dose appointment, visit www.australia.gov.au, or call 1800 020 080. For interpreting services, call 131450.

If you do not remember when you had your second dose, you can find those details on your COVID-19 vaccine certificate. Go to www.servicesaustralia.gov.au for information on how to access your certificate. Or, if you received your second dose from your doctor, you can ask them.

What’s the difference between booster doses and third doses?

Australia’s immunisation experts, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), recommend a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine for people aged 12 years and over who are severely immunocompromised. People who are severely immunocompromised have lower levels of immunity than the rest of the population. They need this third dose to get the same protection others will have from two doses.

Those who are eligible for a third dose should have it between two to six months after their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, as part of their initial course.

A third COVID-19 vaccine dose is different from COVID-19 booster dose. Booster doses are not currently recommended for people who are severely immunocompromised and who have had a three-dose primary course of the COVID-19 vaccination.

Where do I go for more information?

It’s important to stay informed about the COVID-19 vaccination program through reliable and official sources.

Visit www.health.gov.au/covid19-vaccines-languages for more information in your language. You can also call the National Coronavirus and COVID-19 Vaccine Helpline on 1800 020 080. For interpreting services, call 131 450.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 vaccines free and available for everyone over 12 years of age

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