The Cairns Post
Booster jabs schedule
AUSTRALIA’S medical regulator will consider an application from Pfizer to use extra shots of the vaccine to boost protection against Covid-19.
Deputy chief health medical officer Michael Kidd said a Therapeutic Goods Administration committee would meet on Monday to look at data submitted by Pfizer.
“Pfizer has submitted the data, which the TGA needs to look at, and that will be happening on Monday,” Professor
Kidd said on Saturday.
He said he expected the rollout of booster shots would be as early as November 8, with priority given to aged care, disability care and frontline health workers.
People who have had two
Covid-19 vaccine shots will likely have their booster jab six months after the last one.
“I don’t want to pre-empt what the committee is going to decide, but once we have formal approval we also have to get the formal recommendations from ATAGI (Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation),” Prof Kidd said.
The TGA is yet to receive information from AstraZeneca on booster shots.
“As further vaccines are approved for use, we may well see the so-called mix and match occur with people who may receive two doses of one vaccine and a booster dose of another vaccine,” he said.
“Obviously the TGA and ATAGI are following the research ... but also the real life experience ... and all that will help to inform future recommendations.”
Prof Kidd said boosters would slow the spread of the virus. “There is little evidence at this time that protection against severe disease wanes over time in those who are double vaccinated,” he said.
“But what we do know is that antibody levels fall over time and there is a risk of breakthrough infections where vaccinated people may become infected and at risk of transmitting Covid-19.”
Third doses of Covid-19 vaccines are being offered to the immuno-compromised.
But authorities said those doses were not necessarily boosters as they were aimed at lifting the level of protection to the same level as others who only required two doses.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Sunday 86.6 per cent of Australians 16 and over had received one dose and 73.1 per cent were fully vaccinated.
The federal government has on Sunday started running its latest campaign encouraging those who have not had the jab yet to do so.
Covid-19 taskforce commander Lieutenant General John Frewen said the “spread freedom” campaign aimed to “highlight the close links between vaccination and either regaining those freedoms that we all want to enjoy, or protecting those freedoms in the states where we haven’t yet seen outbreaks”.