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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Approval for virus booster shots imminent, those in aged care a priority

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Australians could start getting a COVID-19 booster shot as soon as six months after their second vaccine dose.

The head of Australia’s vaccine rollout, Lieutenant General John Frewen, said the country’s vaccine advisory group will soon release its advice on boosters.

“We’re just waiting on the finalised medical advice now,” Frewen told the Nine Network today.

“We expect it will recommend probably between six to 12 months when people should consider having a booster shot.”

Immunocompromised Australians are already eligible to receive a booster shot.

Nationally, 73 per cent of eligible people aged 16 years and over are fully vaccinated, while nearly 87 per cent have received their first dose.

Australians in aged care, disability care and front line health workers are expected to be among the first to receive top-up jabs, once approval is granted.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration is reviewing booster shot data from overseas before making its final decision.

“This timing, or sweet spot, of around six or a few more months (between doses) is looking good,” National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance director Professor Kristine Macartney said.

“It’s what the majority of countries have gone with now,” she told ABC radio.

“This is a brand new virus in the world, we essentially need to train and then train a bit more our immune systems to respond to it.”

Frewen said mRNA vaccines, such as Pfizer and Moderna, would be predominantly used for booster shots.

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