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Boosters and additional doses – COVID-19

A booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine provides added protection for people who have completed their 2-dose primary course more than 3 months ago. Getting a booster dose will provide an extra layer of protection against COVID-19.

What is fully vaccinated

You are considered “fully vaccinated” if you had the prescribed number of doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, even if you had your last dose was more than 3 months ago.

Groups at greater risk

The booster is very important for people at greater risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, including:

  • people aged 50 years and older
  • people with underlying medical conditions,
  • people living in aged care and disability accommodation,
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • people who may be at greater risk of COVID-19 because of their work.

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. Additional booster doses may be required for people eligible for additional doses.

Severely immunocompromised people aged 5 and over are strongly encouraged to receive a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine 2–6 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 from severe COVID-19. This additional dose is to maximise your level of immune response to as close as possible to the general population.

Additional doses

Additional dose eligibility

  • Over 12 years of age with severe immunocompromise—refer to the ATAGI statement for a list of included medical conditions.
  • 2–6 months since your second COVID-19 vaccine dose

People who are mildly to moderately immunocompromised are not recommended by ATAGI to have a third dose at this stage.

Vaccine types for additional doses

The Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna (Spikevax) vaccines are the recommended third dose regardless of which vaccine you had for your first 2 doses.

You can also receive the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) vaccine if you:

  • can’t have the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for medical reasons
  • had 2 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine previously.

How to book

Speak with your GP or treating specialist to discuss your individual circumstances. You can book a third dose appointment online or with a participating GP or pharmacy. You may be asked to provide evidence of your medical condition or a referral letter from your GP or specialist at your appointment.

Find a clinic and book

Vaccination records and certificates

Details of your third dose will automatically be uploaded to your Immunisation History Statement and your COVID-19 vaccination certificate will be updated to show your last 2 doses.

Read more about getting proof of your COVID-19 vaccination.

Boosters

First booster dose eligibility

You are eligible for your first booster dose if you are:

  • aged 16 years and older
  • it has been at least 3 months since your second COVID-19 vaccine dose.

Second booster dose eligibility

ATAGI has recommended additional booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine for groups at greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19. The intention is to provide these vulnerable groups with additional vaccine protection before winter.

You are eligible for your second booster dose (also known as a "winter dose") if you are:

  • 65 years or older
  • a resident of an aged care or disability care facility
  • severely immunocompromised (as defined by ATAGI)
  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and aged 50 years and older

and

  • it has been at least 4 calendar months (17 weeks) since either:
    • your first COVID-19 booster dose
    • a confirmed COVID-19 infection, if the infection occurred since your first COVID-19 booster dose (whichever is more recent).

Read ATAGI’s statement on winter doses.

How to book

If you meet the eligibility criteria, you can book a booster dose if it has been 3 months or longer since your second dose of COVID-19 vaccine. You do not need to return to where you got your primary course of COVID-19 vaccine.

Find a clinic and book

The date you had your second dose of vaccine is on your COVID-19 digital certificate or immunisation history statement.

Vaccine types for booster doses

The Pfizer (Comirnaty) and Moderna (Spikevax) vaccines are recommended for your booster dose regardless of which vaccine you had for your first 2 doses.

You can also receive the AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) vaccine if you can’t have the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for medical reasons. The AstraZeneca vaccine is no longer recommended as a booster dose for people who have had 2 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine previously, although it can still be used for this purpose if people decline receiving an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer and Moderna vaccines) as a booster dose.

The Novavax (Nuvaxovid) may be used for people aged 18 and over if you can't have the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for medical reasons.

Safety of COVID-19 booster doses

Common, mild side effects following a booster dose are similar to the side effects following the first 2 doses.

Serious side effects such as myocarditis and pericarditis following a Pfizer or Moderna booster dose are rare.

Vaccination records and certificates

If you get vaccinated at a Queensland Health Vaccination Location, you will get a new vaccination card showing details of your booster or additional dose.

Details of your booster or additional dose will automatically be uploaded to your Immunisation History Statement and your COVID-19 vaccination certificate will be updated to show your last 2 doses.

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

You should wait for 3 months after confirmation that you had COVID-19 before receiving your next COVID-19 vaccine dose (including any booster) and then get your next scheduled dose as soon as possible after this period.

You must not attend a vaccination appointment if you have any COVID-19 symptoms.