In recent months, individuals suffering from respiratory pathogen infections, including COVID-19, have placed an increased pressure on the Australian healthcare system, particularly hospitals. A rise in COVID-19 cases caused by SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants has contributed to this issue, and this issue is expected to become worse in the coming months.
A subvariant of Omicron BA.4 and BA.5, the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants can partly escape the immune response created by both vaccination and infection. The immune response to these new subvariants becomes increased by a first booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine, but it declines over time. A winter dose (the second booster dose) will be helpful to boost this immune response back to a safe level.
severe illness or death from the emerging Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariant infections can be reduced with the help of ATAGI's updated recommendations for a winter dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Individuals in high-risk populations should receive winter boosters of COVID-19 vaccine to reduce the risk of illness caused by the virus.
People aged 30 to 49 years old can receive a fourth dose as ATAGI advised.
People at increased risk of severe illness should receive a fourth dose, or booster, three months after their first booster dose.
People who are severely immunocompromised will receive a fifth dose as an extra booster.
Stay up to date with all vaccinations recommended for your age or individual health needs in order to get the best protection against serious illness or death from COVID-19. Boosters are crucial to maintain this protection.
Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI). Winter dose of COVID-19.
Australian Government, Department of Health and Ageing. COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-out, 6 July, 2022. COVID-19 vaccine rollout update 6 July 2022 (Accessed /08/07/2022)
Hachmann N, Miller J, Collier A, et al. Neutralization Escape by SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Subvariants BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5. N Engl J Med. 2022 Jun 22. doi: 10.1056/NEJMc2206576. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35731894. Available from: The New England Journal of Medicine
Arora P, Kempf A, Nehlmeier I, et al. Augmented neutralisation resistance of emerging omicron subvariants BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5. Lancet Infect Dis. 2022 Jun 28:S1473-3099(22)00422-4. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(22)00422-4. Epub ahead of print. Available from: The Lancet