ATAGI have updated their advice on when people who have had SARS-CoV-2 infection should receive a subsequent COVID-19 vaccine dose. It is now recommended that all people should wait for 3 months after confirmed SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) infection before they receive their next COVID-19 vaccine dose. The next scheduled dose should then be given as soon as possible after this period.
This updated advice reflects the lower risk of reinfection with the Omicron variant within the first 3 months following a confirmed infection, particularly if prior COVID-19 vaccine doses have been received. It also recognises the Delta variant is no longer circulating in Australia and in the past 3 months Omicron has been the dominant variant. This advice may change if future variants of SARS-CoV-2 emerge.
Waiting for a 3-month period after infection before COVID-19 vaccination is intended to optimise protection for that person. A longer gap between infection and vaccination is likely to lead to a better immune response and result in longer protection from reinfection.
This change in recommendation applies to all people who are recommended to receive COVID-19 vaccination (i.e., from 5 years and above), regardless of how many COVID-19 vaccine doses they have received. It does not apply to other vaccines (for example, influenza vaccinations) which can continue to be administered as usual.