Recommendations from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) on the use of a third primary dose of COVID-19 vaccine in individuals who are severely immunocompromised have been announced.

The recommendations have been outlined below:

  • ATAGI recommends a 3rd dose of COVID-19 vaccine as part of the primary course in individuals who are severely immunocompromised.
  • This is to address the risk of suboptimal or non-response to the standard 2 dose schedule.
  • The 3rd dose is intended to maximise the level of immune response to as close as possible to the general population.
  • This recommendation applies to all individuals aged ≥12 years with certain conditions or on therapies leading to severe immunocompromise, as defined in Box 1 (refer to full statement).
  • An individual with an unlisted condition should only be considered for a 3rd dose where the treating physician has assessed the patient as having a similar level of severe immunocompromise to the listed conditions in Box 1, and where the benefits of a 3rd dose of COVID-19 vaccine outweigh the risks.
  • Individuals who currently are not severely immunocompromised but who will commence significant immunosuppressive therapy ≥ 2 weeks after their 2nd dose do not require a 3rd dose, as it can be expected that an adequate response to 2 primary doses will be achieved.
  • ATAGI does not recommend subsequent doses beyond the 3rd dose at this time. Many patients who fail to respond to 3rd doses may not respond to further doses.
  • Protection from 3 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 3rd dose.
  • ATAGI will continue to monitor the evidence around duration of protection and advise on the need for subsequent (booster) doses in immunocompromised populations to address waning of protection or risk from variants of concern.
  • ATAGI will provide further advice on booster doses (including for healthcare workers, older adults and the general population) separately. See about the need for additional doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

To view the statement in full, please click on the link below.
ATAGI statement on the use of a 3rd primary dose of COVID-19 vaccine in individuals who are severely immunocompromised