Australia was one of the leading countries when COVID-19 vaccines were first offered with more than 95 per cent of eligible Australians over 16 years of age having had two doses of a vaccine.
However, with COVID-19 cases rising around Australia and flu cases surging, we are not performing as well on our third and fourth dose boosters.
GPs are being asked by the government for their help to get Australian’s vaccinated.
This comes at a time when authorities are trying to understand the impact of BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants in terms of their transmissibility including how much they evade previous immunity from infections or vaccinations leading to re- infections.
There are almost 6 million Australians who are eligible for a third COVID-19 vaccine dose who have not yet had it.
At the time of writing, 95 per cent of aged care residents have had their third dose however only 65.7% have received four or more doses.
The booster numbers aren’t where they need to be for other vulnerable populations:
- 54% of eligible Indigenous people have received three or more doses
- 75% of NDIS participants and 90% of NDIS residents have received three or more doses
- 59.1% of people aged 65+ who have received four or more doses
Additional booster now recommended
An additional booster, or fourth dose, is recommended for people at increased risk of severe illness, to be given 3 months after their first booster dose.
This additional booster will be a fifth dose for people who are severely immunocompromised, have an underlying medical condition or disability.
Learn more. Then put this link to the learn more https://www.health.gov.au/initiatives-and-programs/covid-19-vaccines/getting-your-vaccination/booster-doses
New COVID vaccines
The United States Food and Drug Administration and the European equivalent, The European Medicines Agency, is looking at applications to approve new variant vaccines. These vaccines are being developed by Moderna and Pfizer targeting the Omicron variant. They’re bivalent vaccines, so they have a small piece of the original strain in them as well as the new Omicron strain. According to the Federal Health Minister, Mark Butler “the clinical data is looking very good and regulators are now dealing with those applications before them. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in Australia has an application before it and will be reviewing it over coming weeks”.
Under-five paediatric vaccine
The under-five paediatric vaccine by Moderna and Pfizer has been considered in America. They have been approved and are currently being rolled out in the US.
The Moderna paediatric vaccine is also before the TGA in Australia. If its approved by the TGA, it will then go to the vaccine advisory group ATAGI to consider the degree to which it should be rolled out here in Australia.
Minister Butler recently announced that Pfizer has also been granted provisional approval to submit an application for its paediatric vaccine to the TGA.
Federal Department of Health: Vaccination numbers and statistics. Retrieved 4/7/2022
Federal Department of Health: Minister Mark Butler Media Conference. Retrieved 4/7/2022