From January 4, according to the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ATAGI), Australians aged 18 and over will be eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccine booster four months after the second dose, as opposed to the current five-month period.
Beginning at the end of January, the recommended interval will be reduced once more to three months a year.
After state and territory leaders called for the interval to be shortened in order to slow the rapid spread of the Omicron variant throughout the country, the decision was made.
According to Health Minister Greg Hunt, the changes will result in 16 million Australians becoming eligible for booster vaccines by the end of January as a result of the changes.
It was determined that the dates were set out of a high degree of caution in order to provide Australians with early continuation of protection, and the advice we have received is that while the protection is very strong against severe illness, “what we’ll see is a much stronger protection against transmission,” he explained to reporters.
COVID-19 mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are the only ones currently approved for use as boosters in Australia and are manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna.
According to Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Paul Kelly, protection for people who have received two vaccine doses will not disappear overnight, but that booster shots will provide an additional layer of protection.
“We are aware that, unfortunately, two doses do not make a significant difference in the ability to become infected. Once again, it deteriorates with time “he explained.
That protection against infection is diminished when exposed to Omicron, as is evident; however, with a booster, it returns to levels comparable to those of the Delta virus.”
Australia reported a new record of 9,113 COVID-19 infections and nine deaths on Friday morning, setting a new world record.
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) recorded 102 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, marking the first time the territory has seen triple-digit case numbers since the outbreak began.
A ban on the sale of rapid antigen tests (RATs) has been lifted in South Australia (SA), which has reported a pandemic-high 688 new cases. The ban was lifted in an effort to relieve extreme pressure on testing sites in the lead-up to Christmas Day.