Boosters and additional doses – COVID-19

To receive the best protection against serious illness or death from COVID-19, you should get all the recommended doses for your age or individual health needs. Boosters are important to maintain this protection. All COVID-19 vaccines, including booster doses, are free for everyone.

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All adults can get a booster if it has been 6 months or longer since their last COVID-19 booster or confirmed COVID-19 infection (whichever is most recent).

Boosters are particularly recommended for people at higher risk of severe illness, including:

  • all adults aged 65 years and over; and
  • adults aged 18 years and over who have medical comorbidities, disability or complex health needs.

The following groups should consider a booster based on an individual risk benefit assessment with their immunisation provider:

  • all adults aged 18–64 years without risk factors for severe COVID-19; and
  • children and adolescents aged 5–17 years who have medical comorbidities that increase their risk of severe COVID-19, or disability with significant or complex health needs.

Booster doses are not currently recommended for children and adolescents under the age of 18 who do not have any risk factors for severe COVID-19, or for any children aged less than 5 years.

COVID-19 vaccines can be co-administered with influenza and other vaccines. People should aim to receive a 2023 COVID-19 booster dose before June 2023 ahead of winter, particularly those at higher risk.

Vaccine types for booster doses

The Pfizer (Comirnaty) and Moderna (Spikevax) Omicron-specific bivalent vaccines are preferred for booster doses regardless of which vaccine you received for your primary doses. However, any age-appropriate COVID-19 vaccine will provide additional protection against infection and longer lasting protection against severe disease.

Safety of COVID-19 booster doses

  • Common, mild side effects following a booster dose are similar to the side effects following the primary doses.
  • Serious side effects such as myocarditis and pericarditis following a Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna (Spikevax) booster doses 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 five and over are strongly encouraged to receive a third primary dose of the COVID-19 vaccine two 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 of severe COVID-19. This additional dose is to maximise your level of immune response to as close as possible to the general population.

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. If you have been vaccinated, you are far less likely to get severe disease if you get COVID-19 again.

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 dates you had your vaccine doses are listed on your COVID-19 digital certificate or Immunisation History Statement (available from the AIR).