Canberra announced today that Australia will cut the duration of Covid-19 booster shots from six months to four, beginning in January 2022. Following the lead of Germany and UK, Australia will switch to a 3-month interval.
Greg Hunt, Federal Health Minister announced Friday’s change citing the advice of the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI). The Australians who have had their first jab will be eligible to receive their booster within four months. This change takes effect from January 4. The time between two jabs will be reduced by three months starting January 31.
“Currently that means that we will go from about 3.2 million people who are eligible today to approximately 7.5 million who will be eligible as of 4 January,”Hunt added that 16,000,000 Australians are eligible for boosters from January 31.
Hunt stated that ATAGI recently recommended boosters be taken after five months instead of six, and has since updated its guidance based upon international evidence. These new dates were set “out of an abundance of caution,”Omicron virus variant rapidly spreading.
Germany said Tuesday it will reduce the booster interval from six to three months based upon the recommendation of the Permanent Vaccination Commission or STIKO. In the UK, booster intervals were also halved from six months to three months.
Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly said the protection from severe disease from the first two doses of mRNA jabs “does not completely disappear” but wanes over time, which is why there’s a need for the third shot – and the fourth “in the case of immunocompromised people.”
But even that? “not enough by itself,”Kelly stated, and added that Kelly had other “public health and social measures”Multiple Australian states have recently introduced a number of new products to slow down the spread.