COVID Update

November 2023

An updated COVID-19 vaccine which targets the most common circulating COVID-19 variant, Omicron XBB.1.5, is now available in Australia.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australia (ATAGI) has approved the following vaccines for use:

  • -Pfizer monovalent Omicron XBB.1.5 vaccine – for people aged 5 to 11 (light blue cap).
  • -Pfizer monovalent Omicron XBB.1.5 vaccine - for people 12 years and older (dark grey cap).
  • -Moderna monovalent Omicron XBB.1.5 vaccine: registered for use in people aged 12 years and older.


The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) advises the following:

  • -All available COVID-19 vaccines are hoped to provide benefit to eligible people. However, the monovalent Omicron XBB.1.5 vaccines are preferred for use in children aged five years or older and adults who are currently recommended primary or additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine according to the Australian Immunisation Handbook.
  • For those who have had the recommended 2023 dose/s of COVID-19 vaccine, ATAGI is not recommending further doses or re-vaccination with an XBB.1.5-containing vaccine at this time
  • ATAGI notes the recent increase in COVID-19 cases across Australia since November 2023 and encourages all people who have not yet had their recommended 2023 dose/s to receive them as soon as possible.
  • There are no monovalent XBB.1.5-containing vaccines registered for use in children aged six months to four years.

At the moment, Pfizer original (maroon cap) is the only formulation available for use in this age group.

Providers can refer to the Australian Immunisation Handbook to check which vaccines are recommended by age group.

The latest ATAGI statement is available here.

October 2023

A Chief Health Officer alert was issued on 27 October 2023 regarding increased community transmission of COVID across Victoria.

The LMPHU continues to monitor the situation and assist in managing COVID outbreaks in residential aged care facilities and healthcare facilities in the region.

We advise that people continue to follow the standard COVID precautions:

  1. Stay up to date with the COVID vaccinations (see below for more information)
  2. Stay home if unwell
  3. Get tested if experiencing any symptoms
  4. Wear a mask
  5. Let fresh air in where possible


COVID Vaccination

Vaccination Clinic   

Bendigo Health has ceased operating COVID vaccination clinics.  

Vaccinations continue to be offered at GP Clinics and pharmacies. For a current list of COVID vaccination providers please visit here or the Department of Health website

COVID Vaccination Eligibility (Updated with 1 September 2023 ATAGI advice)

ATAGI has updated its recommendations for an additional 2023 booster dose  of the COVID vaccine if 6 months have passed since the last dose. The updated recommendations are:

  • Adults aged 75 or over recommended to receive an additional 2023 booster dose.
  • The following groups are advised to consider an additional 2023 booster dose:
  • Younger people without severe immunocompromise who have already had a dose in 2023 are not recommended to have any further doses currently.
    • Adults aged 65 to 74 years
    • Adults aged 18-64 with severe immunocompromise
    • Adults aged 18-74 who have:
      • no history of prior covid infection
      • medical comorbidities that increase their risk of severe Covid-19
      • disability with significant or complex health needs
      • residence in a residential aged care facility

The table below outlines recommendations from ATAGI.

Refer to the blue columns if you have not had a booster in 2023. Refer to the green columns if you have had a booster in 2023 and it has been at least 6 months since then.

COVID Testing

Our testing site closed on December 31, 2022. 

PCR tests can be arranged via your local GP or respiratory clinic.

Rapid Antigen Tests

Rapid antigen tests (RATs) are the preferred means of testing for COVID for most Victorians.

They are quick and accurate, particularly if you have symptoms or if you have been in contact with someone who has COVID.

You should take a rapid antigen test:

  • if you have symptoms of COVID infection, no matter how mild
  • if you are a household or close contact of someone who has COVID
  • if you are a social contact of someone who has COVID. This includes workplaces and educational facilities
  • before attending a crowded event, social gathering or visiting people at risk of serious illness, for example, when a test is required to attend a hospital or other health care setting. This is because COVID can spread before you have symptoms. You can help protect others by checking you are negative before leaving home
  • as part of a screening program, such as one organised by your employer.

If you return a negative rapid antigen test

If you have COVID symptoms and you return a negative rapid antigen test you should stay home until your symptoms go away. Repeat rapid antigen testing over the next several days.

Rapid antigen tests are better able to detect COVID when repeated over successive days but will not detect other respiratory viruses, such as influenza.

If you return a positive rapid antigen test

If you have tested positive for COVID, you should stay at home for at least five days and until you no longer have symptoms. You should also speak to your GP to check if you are eligible for COVID antiviral medicines.

When PCR testing is available

If you have COVID symptoms, you should take a rapid antigen test. PCR tests can be arranged via your local GP or respiratory clinic.


Most people who get infected with Covid-19 have symptoms similar to a cold or the flu and they feel better after a few days or a couple of weeks.

Since the pandemic started though, we are hearing more and more about people who are not getting better as quickly and continue to experience symptoms like fatigue, shortness of breath, body aches, brain fog, and many other types of symptoms.

With a new condition such as Covid-19, we are continually learning new things about it. It is now widely recognised that the above phenomenon is describing Long Covid (officially known as Post Covid-19). This is still a relatively new area and we are learning more about it.

If you are continuing to feel symptoms from your Covid-19 infection over a month after having the infection, you might be experiencing Long Covid. This can be a difficult and frustrating diagnosis as we are still learning more about the condition and so doctors may not be able to answer all your questions right now especially since different people seem to experience Long Covid differently and there is also variation between countries.

At LMPHU, we are committed to sharing information to help those in our community who may be affected. If you believe you are affected with Long Covid, we encourage you to see your regular doctor who may refer you to a specialist if they think it is needed.

What do we know now?

  • We know that 5-10% of people who get infected with Covid-19 are likely to develop Long Covid
  • The more times a person is infected with Covid-19, the greater their odds of developing Long Covid
  • Long Covid is not contagious
  • There is no test to confirm a diagnosis of Long Covid

The best way to protect yourself from Long Covid is to avoid infection with Covid-19.


More information on how to manage and protect yourself from COVID can be found here

What to do if you have been exposed to COVID 

Services & Clinics