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Australia’s booster dose program will commence from November 8

The prime minister has announced a “whole of nation” drive to give Aussies a third dose of a vaccine

Maxim Boon
Written by
Maxim Boon

Australia will offer everyone in the country a third dose of a Covid vaccine – often called a ‘booster shot’ – with a new initiative that will begin rolling out from November 8. Much like the first vaccine roll out, priority will be given to vulnerable people and frontline workers before booster doses are made available to the population at large. Australia is only the second country in the world, after Israel, to offer a ‘whole of nation’ booster program.

A third dose is now being recommended for several reasons. Firstly, due to the need to accelerate the vaccine rollout, the interval between doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were cut from 12 weeks to just six, which impacts the longevity of the protection the two doses provide. Studies around the world have also shown that a third dose of any vaccine offers greater protection from more virulent variants. People who have received two doses are still considered fully vaccinated, but booster shots are likely to be occasionally required in the future with the currently available vaccines, much like the annual flu jab.

Australia has embraced vaccination in a way almost unmatched anywhere else in the world. 75 per cent of the adult population over the age of 16 are now vaccinated, and 87.4 per cent of adults have received at least one dose. 98.9 per cent of the over 70s nationwide have now had one jab, and more than 99 per cent of the adult population in the ACT are now partially vaccinated.

ATAGI, the independent regulatory body that advises the government on the distribution of vaccines in Australia, has recommended that all people in Australia, regardless of the brand of vaccine of their first two doses, receive the Pfizer vaccine as a booster shot.

From November 1, all Australians will be allowed to travel outside of the country without an exemption, and in NSW and Victoria, no quarantine period will be required for vaccinated Australians returning to the country. As yet, international arrivals are not being admitted into Australia, however, the prime minister reiterated on October 28 that the federal government was still committed to following the three-phase reopening plan, that would permit international arrivals once 80 per cent of the adult population are doubled jabbed. Australia is due to reach this target by November 1, meaning tourists may be allowed to visit Australia for the first time since March 2020 just in time for this summer.

Stay up to date with the latest details of Australia's exit from the pandemic. Bookmark the Time Out Sydney news hub.

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