The Federal Government has announced that a new COVID-19 booster shot will be available for at-risk Australians in early April.
This comes as fears surge about a rise in infections in the coming colder months.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has recommended an extra COVID-19 booster jab for people over the age of 65 and people from 16 years old who are immunocompromised. First Nations Australians who are 50 and over, as well as people living in aged and disability care facilities, are also eligible for the new shot.
This decision comes as research has shown that humoral immunity to the SARS-CoV-2 virus (measured by virus-specific antibodies) wanes over time against infection, meaning an extra COVID-19 shot is necessary for reminding the immune system of its protection mechanism towards the virus.
According to the ABC, health authorities believe COVID-19 shots will transition to seasonal winter jabs, similar to flu vaccines, rather than a numbering system.
Authorities also advise that the second COVID-19 booster be taken four to six months after you have had the first.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said on yesterday’s ABC live news that the first doses will start on April 4 and can be accessed via pharmacies, general medical practices, State of Commonwealth’s clinics, and Indigenous medical clinics.
“This [The decision on the second booster COVID-19 shot] is based on medical advice, we gave complete freedom to people who work closely with medical experts,” he said.
“They probably consider this more closely than almost any other decision in reaching these outcomes.”
The flu vaccine will be eligible for adults 65 years and over, children under five, pregnant women, Indigenous Australians of all ages and people who are immunocompromised.
Photo: Vaccine Booster by Diverse Stock Photos available HERE and used under a Creative Commons licence. The photo has not been modified.