Australia recommends against fifth vaccine dose as fresh Covid wave builds


Australian health authorities have recommended against getting a fifth COVID-19 vaccine shot, even as they urged those eligible to sign up for their remaining booster doses as the country’s latest COVID wave grows rapidly.

While announcing new vaccination recommendations at a press conference on Tuesday, the country’s health minister, Mark Butler said the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisations (Atagi) had recommended against a fifth dose, or third booster, after evidence from Singapore’s recent wave showed that severe illness and death were rare among the vaccinated and that a fifth shot had minimal impact on virus transmission.

Butler revealed that average daily cases but cases remain 85% below the previous peak, of late July.

According to Butler, “They (Atagi) noted that severe disease and death during that wave in Singapore was very rare for people who had had at least two doses of vaccine for Covid.”

Butler also had said he accepted Atagi recommendations that Pfizer’s Omicron-specific vaccine be approved as a booster dose for adults; 4.7 million doses will arrive ahead of a rollout due to begin on Dec 12.

He further disclosed that new booster recommendations will be made early 2023 ahead of the southern-hemisphere winter.

Butler urged those yet to get the recommended number of shots to do so, with 5.5 million Australians, roughly a fifth of the population, yet to receive a third dose despite being eligible.

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