Winter booster deployment begins on Monday | Western Magazine
With more than 30 per cent of Australians eligible to receive their third COVID-19 vaccine yet to do so, the elderly and vulnerable will begin receiving a second booster ahead of an expected rise in winter infections from Monday.
Groups will include people aged 65 or over, Indigenous Australians aged at least 50, disabled care residents and people with compromised immune systems.
An estimated 4.7 million people will be eligible to receive the fourth dose, but fewer than 200,000 are expected to be eligible at the start of the rollout.
People can get a second booster shot four months after getting the first one.
A parliamentary hearing was announced on Friday, eligibility numbers will be “relatively low” initially, with the majority of people more likely to make vaccination appointments through May and June.
Department of Health Secretary Dr Brendan Murphy said the fourth strike will be key in the effort to protect at-risk Australians ahead of winter, with an imminent spike in virus and flu cases.
“The most important thing we can do to protect people with underlying medical conditions, people with disabilities, people at risk for severe COVID, is to get vaccinated as much as possible – including full booster protection -“, did he declare.
Australia’s main health protection committee expects an associated peak of infection to reach mid-April in several jurisdictions.
Comprised of health officials from across the country, the group said it is considering recommending the removal of quarantine for close contacts with COVID-19.
It says isolation could be replaced with frequent rapid antigen testing, wearing a mask outside the home and limiting access of close contacts to high-risk settings.
By Saturday, nearly 12,950,000 Australians had received a first booster shot. Nearly 20 million have had at least one injection and around 900,000 are still unvaccinated.
More than 54,000 COVID-19 infections and 26 virus-related deaths were reported across the country on Saturday.
LATEST 24-HOUR COVID-19 DATA FROM ACROSS AUSTRALIA:
NSW: 16,807 cases, 11 deaths, 1,355 in hospital, 50 in intensive care
Victoria: 9,008 cases, two deaths, 307 in hospital, 18 in intensive care
Australian Associated Press