Thursday Dec 8, 2022
Thursday Dec 8, 2022

Australia shortens wait for COVID-19 booster vaccines

2021 Dec 12, 16:27, CANBERRA
Australia has said it will reduce the number of flights arriving from India due to the growing wave of COVID-19 cases in the South Asian nation.

Australia's expert panel on immunizations has shortened the recommended wait time for coronavirus booster vaccines.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunizations (ATAGI) said on Sunday that the interval between the second and booster shots for people over 18 has been cut from six months to five.

The change means approximately 1.5 million more Australians are now eligible for booster shots.

The ATAGI also confirmed it had approved Moderna's vaccine as a booster shot and an alternative to the Pfizer dose.

The emergence of the Omicron variant has made boosters "much more important," said Secretary of the Department of Health Brendan Murphy.

"We do believe that, as one gets towards six months, the waning immunity of the primary vaccination means that a booster will be very important to continue that protection against this variant," he told reporters.

"We are still protected with our primary vaccination; people shouldn't be worried," he added.

As of Saturday, 93.3 percent of Australians aged 16 and over had received at least one coronavirus vaccine dose, and 89.2 percent were fully inoculated.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said 683,000 people had received booster vaccines so far -- a figure he said was "well ahead" of the government's expectations.

Australia on Sunday reported more than 1,500 new locally-acquired COVID-19 infections and four deaths.

Meanwhile, authorities in South Australia have confirmed the state's first two cases of the Omicron variant, and contacts of the cases have been forced into quarantine for 14 days regardless of their vaccination status.


Australia Australia Expert panel immunization COVID booster Vaccines Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunizations booster shots Moderna Vacccine OMICRON vaccination quarantine vaccination status
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