COVID-19 vaccine boosters have been brought forward by a month as the Omicron variant of the virus spreads in Australia.
The Federal Government has added Moderna as an option for boosters alongside Pfizer, with Australians now eligible for a third dose five months after their second as opposed to six.
Dr Brendan Murphy, Secretary of the Department of Health, says that while the initial two doses offer good protection against the coronavirus, boosters are important to grant extra immunity.
“In the light of the Omicron variant where we do believe that boosters are going to be much more important, we do believe that as one gets towards six months, their waning immunity of the primary vaccination means that a booster will be very important to continue that protection against this variant. We’re still learning about Omicron, but that evidence seems to be coming out of the lab,” he said.
According to Health Minister Greg Hunt, Australia is one of the first countries to roll out a whole-of-population booster program.
“Australia is well prepared to provide booster doses as approvals are provided by the medical experts.
“Australia is a vaccination nation with more than 40 million COVID-19 vaccines having been administered to date, over 93% of eligible Australians aged 16 and older have received a first dose and over 89% have now received a second dose,” he said.
More than 683,000 Australians have already received a booster dose, with an extra 1.5 million now eligible; in total, 4.1 million will be eligible to receive a booster by the end of the month.