A new Omicron-specific booster is coming to Australia and will be available next month as a third and fourth dose for those over the age of 18.

The Pfizer Comirnaty Bivalent Original vaccine (AKA Omicron BA.1 or Pfizer bivalent) was approved for use by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) on Tuesday after it evaluated the safety and effectiveness of the jab.

ATAGI also released its recommendations for the use of the new vaccine. It can be used as an alternative to any of the existing available vaccines as a third or fourth dose in Aussies over 18 who are currently recommended to receive a COVID-19 booster.

Health Minister Mark Butler said 4.7 million doses of the new jab will be arriving over the next two weeks, per the ABC. They’ll be tested by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) before being rolled out on December 12.

“This is an Omicron-targeted vaccine that has elements of the original strain of COVID in it as well as the BA1 sub-variant of the Omicron strain,” he said.

“ATAGI has recommended that the Omicron vaccine from Pfizer be added to the booster doses available or recommended here in Australia.”

The new Pfizer booster vaccine comes as a fourth COVID wave kicked off in Australia in November. Chief health officers around the country have urged Aussies to get serious about taking precautions, so it’s time to mask up in crowded spaces and do a RAT before visiting at-risk friends and family.

NSW’s Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant reckons the peak will hit before Christmas.

“The wave is taking off with some trajectory, it will be quite a steep wave and hopefully the decline will be equally as steep,” she said per The Guardian.

“There is a sense that the wave may well peak before Christmas and we may be on the decline [by then].”

Pfizer’s new booster vaccine also comes after ATAGI experts said Aussies under 30 wouldn’t get many benefits from a fourth dose/second booster.

“A 30-year-old who gets COVID is probably not going to get into any trouble with it as opposed to a 60 or 70-year-old,” former ATAGI co-chair and current member Professor Allen Cheng said, per the Sydney Morning Herald.

“If it has been a long time since [an older person] got their last dose then we start to worry. A 30-year-old with … three doses will be optimally protected.”

So if you’re between the ages of 18 and 30 when this new vaccine is rolled out next month, it’s probably best to just check in with your doctor about whether you need to get the jab.

Image: Getty Images / Dan Peled