Vaccine update: COVID-19 vaccine booster is now available for all adults at HHMP

 In COVID-19, vaccination

Booster shot for COVID-19 vaccine is now available to all adults above 18 years

There has recently been much discussion about the need for a third shot of the COVID-19 vaccine to make sure patients have good immunity going forward. This is especially relevant to patients who were vaccinated at the very beginning of the national rollout in March and April 2021 as they are now over 6 months since their initial vaccination.

It is important to understand the terms being used as part of the vaccine program. While the difference is subtle, it is important.

  • For immunocompromised people, a third shot is currently recommended. This third shot is seen as part of the primary (original) vaccine doses. Basically this group’s immune response is more limited and they need three (3) doses to get to a similar level of immunity that the rest of the population can achieve in 2 doses. As such their third dose is not seen as a “true booster” but rather as the third dose of the initial program. As a result their third shot for immunocompromised people can be given at 2 to 6 months after their second dose.
  • The rest of the adult population, above 18 years of age, a third shot is currently recommended. This third shot needs to be given at least 6 months after their second dose.

More information about the third shot for the immunocompromised can be found in the previous blog post. The following information relates to the booster shot for the general adult population.

The Booster shot

Following recent approval by the TGA, ATAGI has released recommendations on the use of a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

The recommendations include that:

  • Pfizer is recommended as a single booster dose, no matter which vaccine was administered as the primary course (In some rare and exceptional circumstances such as when a patient had an allergic or anaphylactic reaction to the Pfizer vaccine, provisions exist for the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine)
  • The booster dose can be administered from six months after completing the primary course. This means the booster dose is not to be administered less than 6 months after the second dose.
  • A booster dose is recommended for adult patients only and it is not currently recommended for people under 18 years of age
  • The booster dose can be co-administered with the influenza vaccine
  • Severely immunocompromised patients who receive a third dose as part of their primary course are not currently recommended to have a fourth dose.

ATAGI has noted that the highest-priority groups to receive booster doses are those with risk factors for severe COVID-19 and/or those at increased occupational risk of COVID-19. This aligns with those individuals who were eligible first during the initial rollout of vaccination in early 2020. That said, there is no restriction on those people not in the above groups booking appointments to also have their booster dose, as long as it is more than 6 months after their 2nd dose.

Vaccine and booster availability

Unlike early in the national vaccine rollout, vaccine availability is not an issue. HHMP has plentiful amounts of both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines. As a result we can accommodate the anticipated demand for third and booster doses.

We expect that we will still have some people beginning or completing their primary vaccination course (first and second doses for most people) and we can accommodate this group as well.

Making a booster booking

Making a booking is simple and can be done online by using the BOOK NOW buttons on top of this page or by calling 02 9817 2080. Many appointments are available on various days and unlike early in the rollout there is no need to make appointments months in advance. We will not have a waiting list as we expect most people to be able to get an appointment when they are eligible. PLEASE CHECK THAT YOUR APPOINTMENT IS AT LEAST 6 MONTHS AFTER YOUR SECOND DOSE.

As usual, vaccination will occur at our vaccination clinic on level 1 which is accessible by the internal lift or outdoor stairs. . Please follow the signs.

 

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