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At risk Australians are being advised to get a fourth pre-winter dose of COVID-19 vaccine as the Omicron sub-variant pushes up case numbers ahead of a potentially serious flu season.

But who should get them, and is there a risk of getting the flu and coronavirus vaccine close together?

Here is everything you need to know about the fourth dose rollout.

Vials of the Pfizer/BioNTech Comirnaty vaccine.
Select groups of at risk Australians will be able to get a pre-winter COVID-19 booster vaccine from April 4. (Getty)

Who should get a fourth COVID-19 vaccine?

Only four “at risks” groups have been approved for a fourth booster shot by ATAGI:

These include:

  • People 65 and over
  • First Nations Australians 50 and over
  • Residents in aged care or disability settings
  • Immunocompromised people.
Coles Eastgardens

How Australia faced the emergence of the Omicron variant

Can I get a flu vaccine and COVID-19 booster at the same time?

In updated health advice, ATAGI said it is okay for patients to get both a flu shot and a COVID-19 booster on the same day.

“All COVID-19 vaccines can be co-administered (given on the same day) with an influenza vaccine,” it said.

Australians advised to double-down on their vaccination efforts and to receive a flu shot.
Australians advised to double-down on their vaccination efforts and to receive a flu shot. (9News)

ATAGI explained a resurgence of influence is expected in 2022 with borders reopening.

“If a person had a 2021 influenza vaccine in late 2021 or early 2022, they are still recommended to receive a 2022 formulation of influenza vaccine when it becomes available,” it said.

Can under 65s get a fourth vaccine?

At this stage the only people under 65 that can get a vaccine are the immunocompromised, residents in aged care or disability settings and Indigenous Australians 50 and over.

Minister for Health Greg Hunt said the fourth booster rollout is unlikely to expand beyond these groups in the immediate future.

“It is only recommended for those groups at this point in time,” Mr Hunt said, explaining ATAGI looked at international evidence from countries such as Israel to make their determination.

“There is always room for review.

“(But) at this stage we’re not predicting this is likely to change.”

Pharmacy Lead Sarah Spann is seen with Pfizer vials on opening day of the COVID-19 vaccination hub at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The fourth booster rollout is unlikely to expand beyond four at-risk groups in the immediate future. (Getty)

When should I get the fourth COVID-19 booster?

Mr Hunt said the fourth vaccine is recommended four to six months after the last booster.

Where should I get my fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose?

Doses will be administered at pharmacies, GPs as well as government-run vaccine hubs.

What vaccines are available for boosters?

There are four coronavirus vaccines currently approved for use in Australia; AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax.

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File
Those aged 16 or 17 can only have the Pfizer vaccine as a booster dose. (AP)

Does it matter which vaccine I get for the booster?

The Australian Government said it is okay to mix vaccine doses but this is dependent on your age.

“If you are 18 years or older, you can have the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as a booster dose regardless of which vaccine you had for your first two doses,” it said on its website.

“You can also receive the Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) vaccine if you can’t have the Pfizer vaccine for medical reasons.

“If you are 16 or 17 (or have turned 16 since you had your primary dose of COVID-19 vaccine) you can have the Pfizer vaccine as a booster dose.”

Source: 9News

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