Greg Hunt: all vaccinated aged care home residents to have had COVID-19 booster shot by end of month

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Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, says the booster vaccination program for federally-funded aged care home residents is ahead of schedule and will finish this month, despite concerns that many residents have yet to receive a booster.

Data provided by the Federal Government reveal that 4,298 booster jabs were given on Monday and 2,192 doses the following day. On Tuesday, Federal Government figures showed 1,700 out of 2,700 federally funded aged care services in Australia had provided to residents a third dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

“The booster program started in November before the Omicron variant occurred and the booster vaccination program is ahead of schedule and as soon as ATAGI had made its recommendation to support boosters,” said a spokesperson for Mr Hunt.

“At that stage, the ATAGI recommendation was for boosters to be provided six months post the completion of the two doses. Subsequently ATAGI has updated this advice in response to Omicron. The booster program has quickly responded and is continuing to re-schedule clinics to bring them forward in response.”

“All aged care facilities will have their boosters by this month, with more than 1,750 completed which is ahead of the original schedule.”

A booster dose with an mRNA vaccine has the potential to increase efficacy for Omicron to 86.2% against symptomatic infection and 98.2% against severe infection. South Australia and ACT on Wednesday joined other states and territories in immediately reducing the wait time between second and third vaccine doses to three months.

Mr Hunt added further communication is going to families to encourage them to support an increased uptake for the booster vaccination and regular meetings with the providers, unions and Operation CovidShield to respond and address any issues with the booster program.