COVID-19 vaccines

Australia shortens wait time for COVID-19 booster doses as Omicron cases rise

Australia shortens wait time for COVID-19 booster doses as Omicron cases rise

FIGHTING COVID-19. A healthcare professional prepares a dose of the Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine as high-risk workers receive the first vaccines in the state of Victoria's rollout of the program, in Melbourne, Australia on February 22, 2021.

Sandra Sanders/Reuters

Australia's Health Minister Greg Hunt says the time interval will be shortened to 5 months after the 2nd dose

CANBERRA, Australia – Australia said on Sunday, December 12, it will shorten the wait time for people to receive COVID-19 booster vaccines following a rise in cases of the Omicron variant.

Australia had previously said it would offer a COVID-19 booster to everyone over 18 and who had their second dose of the vaccine six months prior.

But with rising cases of the Omicron variant, Australia’s Health Minister Greg Hunt said the time interval will be shortened to five months after the second dose.

“A booster dose, five or more months after the second dose, will make sure that the protection from the primary course is even stronger and longer lasting and should help prevent spread of the virus,” Hunt said in an emailed statement.

“Data from Israel shows boosters supporting reductions in the rate of infection in eligible age groups, severe disease in those aged over 40 years and deaths in those over 60 years,” added Hunt.

Australia will use both vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna in its booster program.

Australia is one of the most vaccinated countries, with about 90% of people over 16 fully inoculated.

Still, Australia said on Saturday, December 11, it found 1,753 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, up about 3% in the last week and the highest daily total since October 29. –