Clinical advice on when it is safe for patients to have their third dose after COVID-19 infection

  28 February 2022  Western Public Health Unit   

Dr Finn Romanes, Director Western Public Health Unit and Dr Marion Kainer, Head of Infectious Diseases, Western Health have supplied the following advice for clinicians:

Although the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) allows temporary medical exemptions for up to 4 months for people who have tested positive to COVID-19, clinical advice is that once eligible, a person should only delay their next dose until they have recovered from the acute illness.

Based on this advice, we recommend that healthcare professionals encourage patients who have recently had COVID-19 to get their third dose when they i) have finished isolating, and ii) their symptoms have resolved and iii) it has been 3 months since their second dose.

The level of protection provided is much stronger than the level of natural immunity from Omicron infection, and provides greater defence against reinfection with Omicron or the Delta variant. People who have had their third dose are 9 times less likely to be hospitalised with COVID-19 than those who are unvaccinated. They are almost 3 times less likely to be hospitalised with COVID-19 than those who have received two doses of vaccine. (Source:

 More information from the Western Public Health Unit about third doses is available on our website.