It’s high time to book in your booster shot and become a triple vaxxed hottie because the definition of “fully vaccinated” is about to get some changes.
Now, to be considered up to date with your vaccines you’ll need to have had a booster shot. And in related news, the Australian Technical Advisory Group (ATAGI) has officially recommended that we change our language around vaccination.
It’s called for us to stop using “fully vaccinated” and now move to “up to date”.
That’s the terminology ATAGI uses for other vaccinations and it reflects the fact that protecting ourselves from illnesses like COVID-19 is an evolving process.
For example, booster jabs have been really important for protecting us against Omicron.
“We think the best terminology is actually ‘up to date with vaccination status’, rather than ‘fully vaccinated’,” Nigel Crawford, ATAGI’s chair, told a parliamentary committee.
“That’s a term that we’ve used in the childhood program.”
The shift from fully vaccinated to up to date helps emphasise the importance of booster shots. You’re not fully up to date with your vaccine status unless you’ve had three jabs.
If it’s been more six months since your last COVID vaccine and you’re eligible for the booster but haven’t had it, you’ll now be considered “overdue” according to the ABC.
“A person is ‘up to date’ if they have completed all the doses recommended for their age and individual health needs,” said Health Minister Greg Hunt, as per The Guardian.
“Further, ATAGI has advised that if it has been longer than six months since a person’s primary course and they haven’t had a booster, they will no longer be considered ‘up to date’ and instead will be considered ‘overdue’.”
If you’re over 16 and it’s been three months since your second vaccination, you’re eligible for your booster shot.
Even if you’ve had COVID-19, it’s still really important to get boosted. In fact, you can get your booster as soon as you stop showing symptoms!
That usually means you can get boosted as soon as 10 days after having COVID-19.
Remember, it’s not just about hot vax summer. We want hot vax autumn, winter and spring, too. A hot, COVID-protected life, if you will.
ATAGI’s advice on the lingo shift was endorsed by the national cabinet, which also decided against introducing any nation-wide triple vaccination mandates.
Plus, at the moment international travellers will still be considered fully vaccinated if they’ve had two shots of the vaccine. Individual states and territories will be able to make their own calls on mandates, though.
That means they could potentially update the requirements for international travellers to have three vaccine doses.