Covid boosters required every year to stay ahead of virus, health official warned


Australians will need YEARLY Covid booster shots like they do with the flu to stay ahead of the virus, health officials warn

  • Australians will need Covid vaccine every year, top health official warned
  • Chief health officer Andy Robertson said booster would be like flu vaccine
  • Little more than half of seniors eligible for fourth booster have had their shot 

Australians will need to get a Covid vaccine every year to protect themselves against the virus, a top health official has warned.

Western Australia chief health officer Andy Robertson said the booster would be distributed like the flu vaccine and become part of everyday life.

‘There is no indication it (Covid) will disappear completely,’ he told The West Australian.

‘I think (a yearly booster) is on the cards. If we go down that route (yearly booster) it will similar to what happens with influenza where they work out what the most likely strains are and have a yearly shot.’

Australians will need to get a Covid vaccine every year to protect themselves against the virus, a top health official has warned (pictured, Sydneysider receiving Covid vaccine)

Australians will need to get a Covid vaccine every year to protect themselves against the virus, a top health official has warned (pictured, Sydneysider receiving Covid vaccine)

Western Australia chief health officer Dr Andy Robertson (pictured) said the booster would be distributed like the flu vaccine and become part of everyday life

Western Australia chief health officer Dr Andy Robertson (pictured) said the booster would be distributed like the flu vaccine and become part of everyday life

A little more than half of senior Australians eligible for their fourth Covid vaccination have received it.

Federal government figures released on Thursday show 52.2 per cent of the eligible population aged 65 and over have received their fourth jab, equating to more than 1.6 million people.

That was up 1.6 per cent on the same time last week.

In total, and accounting for those aged under 65, more than 1.8 million Australians have received at least four vaccine doses.

People become eligible for their winter booster four months after their third dose.

Authorities continue to urge people to take up boosters and influenza vaccinations to help protect their families this winter.

Federal Health Minister Mark Butler issued a reminder on Thursday, coinciding with his announcement that children between 12 and 15 who are most at risk of severe disease can get their boosters from Tuesday.

To be eligible, children have to be severely immunocompromised, have a disability with significant or complex health needs, or have complex and or multiple health conditions that increase their risk of severe Covid-19.

One or multiple of those categories can apply to children for them to be eligible.

More than 25,000 new Covid cases were announced nationwide on Saturday, while 2,651 people were in hospital with the virus – the lowest figure since early in June.

More than 25,000 new Covid cases were announced nationwide on Saturday, while 2,651 people were in hospital with the virus - the lowest figure since early in June (stock image)

More than 25,000 new Covid cases were announced nationwide on Saturday, while 2,651 people were in hospital with the virus – the lowest figure since early in June (stock image)

Meanwhile, Australian doctors in training said they held grave concerns for the future of the healthcare sector as senior medical professionals grapple with burnout brought on in part by Covid-19 and influenza.

The Australian Medical Students’ Association called on governments to urgently address pressures on the workforce, and commit to long-term planning by funding the National Medical Workforce Strategy.

‘Disastrous’ staff shortages, extreme burnout, and intensified clinical demand are among the factors straining the sector,’ association president Jasmine Davis said.

The peak body is concerned the crisis will have ramifications for patient safety.

‘We know that a burnt out, under-staffed medical workforce cannot adequately teach the next generation of doctors, despite their desire to do so,’ Ms Davis said.

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