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National COVID-19 update: Additional vaccine available for boosters and new oral medication eligibility checker

person receives medical plaster on shoulder and  text reading COVID-19 news update


What you need to know

  • Moderna Bivalent vaccine available to anyone 18 years and older as a third or fourth booster dose
  • New Moderna vaccine is not available for use as the primary COVID-19 vaccination dose
  • COVID-19 symptoms survey identifies eligibility for oral medications to treat COVID-19

Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) approves Moderna bivalent vaccine

    • ATAGI has approved Moderna bivalent vaccine as an alternative for any booster dose for people aged 18 years or older
    • Coadministration of Moderna bivalent vaccine with other non-COVID-19 vaccines is acceptable
    • There are no changes to the current booster recommendations beyond the second booster (fourth) dose
    • Booster doses to be given at least three months after the previous COVID-19 vaccine dose or COVID-19 infection
    • Eligible individuals can receive the Moderna bivalent or any of the existing approved vaccines available to them or advised by health practitioner
    • All approved vaccines will increase immune response against BA.1 and BA.4/BA.5 Omicron subvariants. The new Moderna bivalent vaccine shows a small incremental benefit over the original vaccine for Omicron neutralisation
    • The Moderna bivalent vaccine is not recommended as the primary course of vaccination (first two doses in most people or first three doses in severely immunocompromised people)
    ATAGI continues to advise Australians to maintain up-to-date vaccine coverage, especially people at higher risk of serious illness including people with disabilities and individuals who are immunocompromised.

    Disability service providers are strongly encouraged to continue promoting the uptake of the fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine among their staff and participants. Vaccination against COVID-19 is an investment in long-term health and wellbeing as it reduces the risk of serious illness and hospitalisation for individuals who contract COVID-19.

    Online tool to check COVID-19 symptoms and oral treatment eligibility

    The Department of Health's Healthdirect website includes a brief survey to assist anyone with concerns about COVID-19 symptoms and their antiviral eligibility checker. Antiviral medication, also known as oral medication, must be taken within the first five days following a COVID-19 positive result.

    Anyone identified as eligible for the oral treatments, if they are COVID-19 positive, should call their health practitioner or the Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 immediately to arrange a prescription.

    Individuals who are not COVID-19 positive but are identified as being eligible for the oral medications should arrange to discuss this with their health practitioner. Discussion with a health practitioner is recommended to plan for a prescription to be made available if the person becomes COVID-19 positive as the scripts cannot be issued in advance of testing positive.

    Additional COVID-19 information includes getting tested, recovery, and supplies that might be needed along with the importance of vaccinations and where these can be accessed. The recovery section has details on long COVID-19 and where to seek support if symptoms persist.

    Contact information

    For any enquiries, please contact Heather McMinn, Disability Sector Consultant, submit enquiry/feedback,  show phone number