Some Australians can receive their fourth — and in some cases, their fifth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
In Australia, since Omicron has appeared there have been several waves of COVID infections, hospitalisations and deaths. Depending on what happens with variants this could get worse during the winter months.
New subvariants of Omicron are appearing regularly, and the latest at the time of writing being BA 4 which is thought to have arisen in someone infected at the same time from BA 1 and BA 3 where the viruses exchanged genes. BA 4 is not thought to be more contagious or dangerous than BA 1 or 2.
Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has recommended a winter booster jab for the most vulnerable Australians. People aged over 65, those who are immunocompromised and Indigenous Australians over 50’s, are encouraged to receive the booster four to six months after they have had their third shot, based on medical advice. People who live in aged care or disability care facilities and people aged 16 and over who have been deemed severely immunocompromised are also eligible.
Vaccines are going to continue playing the key role. At the time of writing, 86% of Australians had received their 1st vaccine dose; 82% their second dose; and almost 50% their third dose.