Covid booster vaccines to be rolled out in Australian nursing homes within weeks

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Covid booster vaccines to be rolled out in Australian nursing homes within weeks


The Covid 19 booster vaccines will be rolled out in the elderly care sector in a few weeks, with the government planning to offer a third injection to all Australians vaccinated by the end of the year.

The announcement comes as Australia reaches the double-dose vaccination rate of 70% for people over 16, taking a key step in the national plan to move the country to phase B and restrictions begin to soften up.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the government was “under advanced consideration” of a request from Pfizer for the use of its booster shots, and he hoped that the third doses would be rolled out in the drug industry. care for the elderly during the second week of November. after a “critical” meeting next week.

“We’re ready, we’re able to go ahead and make sure that that extra protection is provided,” Hunt said.

Unlike the initial rollout, the booster program shouldn’t target different priority groups, with Hunt saying he expected the main consideration to be the time interval since a second dose.

“It is unlikely that there will be a need to prioritize,” Hunt said.

“The simple thing is time, and because we have enough vaccines, we have a system capable of delivering, [and] My understanding is that every state and territory has spare capacity at this point, so we want the machine to keep running to keep the program going. “

Health director Professor Paul Kelly said data from Israel’s recall program was viewed by the government as the Therapeutic Goods Administration and the Australian Immunization Technical Advisory Group (Atagi), which would provide advice on the booster program next week.

” This [the Israeli data] confirms very well that it is safe, that it is effective in all age groups, both for the decrease of infections, as well as for serious diseases, then for older age groups, death and preventing death, ”Kelly said.

The government has not received a request for a recall from Moderna or AstraZeneca, and Hunt said he did not expect the AstraZeneca made in Australia jab to be used in the recall program.

This means that people who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine will likely receive a Pfizer booster.

“Right off the bat, we didn’t consider, and the first piece of advice was, that AstraZeneca was unlikely to be a booster,” Hunt said.

“Pfizer is in the final stages of its evaluation and everything is progressing very well… if this were available as a universal booster, it could apply whether you had AstraZeneca or Moderna. “

Hunt said a third injection of AstraZeneca could be provided to immunocompromised and that medical advice for the booster program was still being finalized by Atagi and the TGA.

The Minister of Health also announced the increase in the vaccination rate in Australia, which surpassed the double dose rate by 70% on Wednesday.

The first dose vaccination rate in Australia is now 85.5% nationally, with the double dose rate at 70.01%. Over 33 million doses have been delivered.

“This is a testament to the work of Australians, and it is a testament to our healthcare professionals and everyone who has been involved in the vaccination program in Australia, so I want to thank you and congratulate – but keep going, ”Hunt said.

While the national figure now stands at over 70% vaccinated, coverage across states remains uneven.

Regional areas are lagging behind and Western Australia, Tasmania, Queensland and South Australia are behind Victoria, ACT and New South Wales which are struggling with Covid outbreaks.

Hunt said the 70% milestone “represents the nationwide movement towards phase B of our national roadmap, but above all it represents protection for Australians.”

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