Australians over 30 will be offered a fourth dose of Covid vaccine from today, as health authorities battle a winter wave of Omicron cases.
An additional 7.4 million people can receive a winter booster from Monday, 11 July, as Omicron infections rise.
Chair of Catholic Social Services Australia, Francis Sullivan, said today the threat posed by Omicron, particularly to the elderly and disadvantaged, has never been more real.
“We have seen over the past two years that it has been the old and infirmed, indigenous communities and the disadvantaged that have been most at risk from Covid 19,” he said.
“We welcome the decision by the Albanese Government and its Health Minister, Mark Butler, to move quickly to address the third wave of Covid 19.
“We are a long way from being out of the woods as thousands of people continue to die or end up in intensive care fighting for life.”
Previously, fourth shots were only available to people over 65, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 50, or people with serious immune or health conditions. From 11 July, the eligibility will be widened to anyone over the age of 30.
Australia’s immunisation advisory group, Atagi, has specifically recommended a fourth dose for people aged over 50, and extends eligibility to those 30-49.
7.4 million Australians will now be eligible for an extra dose under the revised recommendations.
Atagi said in its statement that the fourth dose of vaccine would play “a limited but important role” in reducing case and hospital numbers.
“Atagi advises that other public health and social measures, in addition to vaccination, will have the greatest impact against the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 surge in infections,” the statement said.
“This includes increased use of masks and increasing the use of antiviral treatment in people diagnosed with Covid-19, including in people aged 50 years and above.”
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