Up to 500,000 Australians will be able to receive a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine from next Monday after the nation’s immunisation authority approved a third jab for those who are severely immunocompromised.

Health Minister Greg Hunt hailed the announcement as an “important part” of Australia’s vaccination program and expects ATAGI to provide additional advice for the general population later this month.

“Another important part of what we’re doing is the booster program; I’m pleased to be able to announce the first stage of the booster program today,” he said.

“We received advice from ATAGI, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, recommending that boosters or third shots be made available for the immunocompromised, so we’ll move to do so from Monday.

“This is for the severely immunocompromised, a group of up to 500,000, but it’s about providing additional protection.

“The next stage, the general population stage of the booster program, we are expecting advice from ATAGI before the end of October, and we will share that with the public.

“We have over 150 million vaccines that are secured for the future, and so we are able to implement that on the timeframe with the urgency and immediacy that is suggested by ATAGI if and when they provide that, but we are expecting that before the end of October.”

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