For those who are “severely” immunocompromised, Australia’s vaccine expert council has advised a third dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The extra shots will be available to eligible folks starting next week.
According to the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), persons with specific illnesses or who are receiving immunosuppressive treatments like chemotherapy may not be adequately protected by the standard two vaccination doses.
A third dosage should be given two to six months following the second treatment, according to ATAGI.
“The third dose is intended to maximise the level of immune response to as close as possible to the general population,” ATAGI said in a statement.
“Protection from three primary doses in severely immunocompromised individuals may still be lower than the general population.
“People should continue risk mitigation strategies such as mask wearing and social distancing even after receipt of a third dose.”
Under ATAGI’s recommendation, around 500,000 patients would be eligible for a third dosage, according to Health Minister Greg Hunt.
Persons with malignant tumours, organ transplants, stem cell transplants, people on immune-suppressing treatments or taking specific steroids, and people born with immunodeficiencies are all included.
However, Mr Hunt pointed out that those who were only moderately immunocompromised were not yet receiving further injections.
Pfizer and Moderna are the favoured vaccinations for booster injections, according to ATAGI.
AstraZeneca, on the other hand, can be utilised for individuals who have previously received the first two doses.
No recommendations on third doses have been made for the general population at this stage.
Mr Hunt said that decision would be made later this month.