ATAGI reduces booster shot gap as Omicron cases rise

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ATAGI reduces booster shot gap as Omicron cases rise

Booster shot, Omicron, vaccine, COVID-19
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Highlight

  • ATAGI recommends shortening the time gap of receiving a booster shot from six months to five months in Australia. 
  • The increasing cases of Omicron variant in Australia have led ATAGI to this recommendation.
  • ATAGI prefers to use Pfizer and Moderna as the booster vaccine doses in Australia. 

The Australian Technical Advisory Group of Immunization (ATAGI) announced on Sunday that the waiting time for people to receive the COVID-19 booster vaccine shot should become five months instead of six due to increasing cases of the Omicron strain.

Earlier, ATAGI had announced that anyone aged 18 or above must take a booster dose of vaccination within six months of the second dose vaccination.

However, now ATAGI has reduced the waiting time to five months, seeing the emerging cases of the Omicron virus across Australia. 

Why is the booster dose essential?

ATAGI researched to find that two regular vaccine doses cannot provide sufficient protection against coronavirus. Hence, a third booster dose is essential to be taken, especially for those most vulnerable to the disease, such as people already having medical conditions, people having occupational risks, or people from zones of an outbreak.

A third primary dose is recommended two months after their second dose for immunocompromised people.

Research data from Israel has portrayed that booster doses significantly help increase immunity levels in individuals by decreasing the risk of infection and severe disease for those aged over 40 and deaths in those over 60 years.  

ATAGI expects the vaccine to offer the following benefits: 

  • Earlier protection and immunization against COVID-19 Omicron variant. 
  • Relatively beneficial for those living under the threat of community transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

However, ATAGI has not confirmed the duration of protection that the booster dose will likely offer and the potential birth of future new variants. 

ATAGI recommends that both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines be used as a booster shot or a third primary dose against Omicron and Delta variants. 

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