Latest recommendation updates
- ATAGI has updated its advice on temporary deferral of vaccination following COVID-19 infection from 6 months to 4 months.
Recent ATAGI considerations
On Wednesday 19 January 2022, ATAGI met to consider the latest developments relating to COVID-19 immunisation. As at 19 January 2022, over 46 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Australia. ATAGI encourages adults aged 18 years and over to receive a booster dose as soon as they are eligible.
ATAGI continues to monitor COVID-19 epidemiology in Australia including the Omicron variant of concern and the timing of COVID-19 booster vaccinations as outlined in our 24 December 2021 advice.
Vaccination post infection
ATAGI continues to review the evidence and recommendations on vaccination post-infection in light of the recent Omicron variant.
ATAGI has decreased the time allowable for deferral of vaccination after prior SARS-CoV-2 infection to 4 months. This is due to the increased risk of re-infection with the Omicron variant, particularly for those who had a Delta variant infection in 2021.
ATAGI continues to advise that previous infection is not a contraindication to vaccination and that vaccination can occur following recovery of acute illness from COVID-19.
Currently advice states that vaccination can occur following resolution of acute illness. A precaution for all vaccination is acute illness. This may be acute systemic signs of illness or fever. This is to avoid adverse events (including common side effects of vaccination) in an already ill person or to avoid attributing illness symptoms to vaccination.
Those with prolonged symptoms of COVID-19 should be vaccinated on a case-by-case basis.
How to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines
ATAGI continues to develop a framework of what is considered up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations. This framework includes advice on how to stay up to date to have optimal personal and population vaccination benefits. This work will feed into existing processes in the National Immunisation Program and the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) to identify whether an individual is up to date with recommended vaccines.
ATAGI notes that the Therapeutic Goods Administration have granted provisional approval to Biocelect (on behalf of Novavax) for its COVID-19 vaccine, Nuvaxovid. ATAGI discussed recommendations on the use of Novavax in the Australian population and will release its recommendations in the coming days.
Children aged 5 to 11 years
In the weekly update from 12 January 2022, ATAGI stated the dose interval for children at higher risk of COVID-19 (e.g. some underlying medical conditions) may be shortened from 8 to 3 weeks in the context of ongoing community transmission. A list of underlying medical conditions associated with a higher risk of severe COVID-19 are available in Table 1.
Upcoming ATAGI considerations
ATAGI is monitoring evidence on boosters, including boosters for people under the age of 18. There are currently no COVID-19 vaccines registered in Australia as boosters for people under the age of 18 years.
COVID-19 vaccine safety
This week the new ATAGI COVID-19 Safety Group met for the first time to monitor known and emerging serious adverse events following immunisation and other safety issues in the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines. The ATAGI COVID-19 Safety Group will provide regular updates to the ATAGI COVID-19 Working Group. The TGA’s Weekly Report provides a detailed breakdown of adverse events following immunisation.
Resources and recent statements
ATAGI recommends review of the following key resources:
- Clinical Guidance for COVID-19 vaccination providers (new look web version of the clinical guidance)
- ATAGI Expanded guidance on temporary medical exemptions for COVID-19 vaccines.
- 24 December 2021: ATAGI Statement on the Omicron variant of concern and the timing of COVID-19 booster vaccination
- 10 December 2021: ATAGI recommendations on Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine use in children aged 5 to 11 years
- 19 January 2022: Updated ATAGI recommendations on the use of a 3rd primary dose of COVID-19 vaccine in severely immunocompromised individuals