What is COVID-19?
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by a new virus first reported in December 2019 in Wuhan City in China. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory infections. These can range from the common cold to more serious diseases. Symptoms range from mild flu-like symptoms to pneumonia.
While some people recover easily from the virus, others may get very sick, very quickly. There is evidence that the virus spreads from person to person and as such, it is important to practice good hygiene to help prevent infection.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and may include:
- Flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat, and fatigue
- Shortness of breath
To receive the best protection against COVID-19 staying up to date with vaccine doses is recommended.
An additional booster (also known as winter or fourth dose) dose is recommended for people in the following groups:
- Adults aged 50 years or older
- Residents aged 16 years and older of an aged care or disability care facility
- People aged 16 years and older and severely immunocompromised Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and aged 50 years and older
- People aged 16 years or older with a medical condition that increases the risk of severe COVID-19 illness
People aged 16 years and older with disability.
Adults aged 30 to 49 years can receive a winter booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine if they choose to.
The recommended interval between a recent COVID-19 infection or the first booster and a winter booster dose is 3 months.
Pfizer or Moderna are the preferred vaccines for COVID-19 booster doses including the additional winter booster dose. Novavax or AstraZeneca can be used when an mRNA vaccine is contraindicated or not preferred.
For more information on staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines click here.
The Pfizer vaccine is an mRNA vaccine granted provisional approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), for individuals aged 12 years and older. The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) recommends this vaccine is preferred for adults under 60 years for the primary course and booster doses. Booster doses are available for individuals 16 years and over who completed their primary course at least three months ago. Booster doses are only recommended for those aged 12-15 years old if they are severely immunocompromised, have a disability, or have complex and/or multiple health conditions that increase the risk of severe COVID-19.
Pfizer pediatric vaccines are also available. It has provisional approval by the TGA, for individuals aged 5 to 11 years. The ATAGI recommended dose for this age group is one-third of the recommended dose for people aged 12 years and over. The Pfizer pediatric vaccine has been formulated with this recommended dose. Children aged 5 to 11 years require 2 doses, given 8 weeks apart, unless advised by a medical professional.
Moderna vaccine is an mRNA vaccine granted provisional approval by the TGA, for individuals aged 12 years and older. ATAGI recommends this vaccine is preferred for adults under 60 years for the primary course and booster doses. Booster doses are available for individuals 18 years and over who completed their primary course at least three months ago.
Moderna Bivalent vaccines are available. It is an mRNA vaccine and triggers an immune response to the original virus and Omicron variant. Modern Bivalent has been provisionally approved by the TGA, for use as a booster dose in adults 18 years and over. This vaccine is not recommended for the primary course of vaccination.
Moderna pediatric vaccines are available. It has provisional approval by the TGA, for individuals aged 6 to 11 years. The ATAGI recommended dose for this age group is one-half of the recommended dose for people aged 12 years and over. There is no separate pediatric formulation of the Moderna vaccine. Children aged 6 to 11 years require 2 doses, given 8 weeks apart, unless advised by a medical professional.
For the most up-to-date information on Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout please visit here.
If you have any cold and flu-like symptoms it is important to get tested for COVID-19 immediately, even if your symptoms are mild.