Federal government shortens booster dose interval for COVID-19 to four months
Booster shot interval brought forward to four months
“Currently this means that we will increase from around 3.2 million beneficiaries today to around 7.5 million beneficiaries as of January 4th. This means that the cohort has grown.
“It will expand again to three months on January 31st, bringing it to the 16 million Australians eligible at that time.”
ATAGI recently recommended shortening the interval from six months to five months and was under constant review of international evidence, Hunt said.
“These dates were set out of caution in order to provide further protection to Australians early on,” he said.
On ATAGI’s advice, he said that jurisdictions may prefer reduced booster eligibility based on this data if they are “able” to do so.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly said changes in the booster program are aimed at protecting the most vulnerable and in response to new information about vaccine protection and the new Omicron variant.
“We know two important things. For one thing, there is a diminished one [protection] but not completely – protection does not completely go away with the first two doses of the vaccine in relation to serious illness. It wears off over time, hence the time-based change in boosters, “he said.
“The positive effect of this is that we now know that boosters protect and increase this protection against serious illnesses as soon as the third dose is given or a fourth dose in the case of people who are immunocompromised.”
Professor Kelly said the second reason is that boosters at this stage can help curb the transmission of the virus.
“This will be an important part of our control over the current Omicron wave in Australia and will be an important part of it,” said Professor Kelly.