Australians will now be able to get their Covid-19 vaccine booster shots from five months after completion of the primary course amid concerns about the ongoing transmission of the Omicron and Delta variants, Health Minister Greg Hunt says.
This was previously recommended to be six months from a second dose.
"A booster dose, five or more months after the second dose, will make sure that the protection from the primary course is even stronger and longer lasting and should help prevent spread of the virus," Mr Hunt said in a statement on Sunday.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation confirmed the advice in an update that has also given approval for those aged 18 to get the Moderna vaccine as a booster shot against the coronavirus as an alternative to a Pfizer dose, Health Minister Greg Hunt says.
Moderna, like Pfizer, can be used irrespective of what vaccine a person received for their primary course of vaccination, the ATAGI said.
The Moderna booster dosage is half that of the primary course dosage.
Mr Hunt said more than 670,000 Australians had already received more than two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. He and Health Department secretary Brendan Murphy will receive their booster shots on Sunday.
The announcement came as NSW recorded 485 new Covid-19 cases and two virus-related deaths.
Genomic testing into additional Omicron cases continues, with the state tally up to 45 as of Saturday.
There were 1069 new infections reported in Victoria and two deaths.
Covid: More than 40 million vaccines administered
Mr Hunt said more than 40 million Covid-19 vaccines had been administered in Australia, with more than 93 per cent of eligible Australians aged 16 and older having received a first dose and more than 89 per cent having received a second dose.
Government frontbencher Peter Dutton said it was important people understood Australia was living with the virus now and the reason behind getting to a fully vaccinated rate of 80 or 90 per cent.
He said people did not want to go back into lockdowns.
"I think that is the general sentiment frankly across the country," he told Sky News' Sunday Agenda program.
"We need to recognise the mental health issues that have been generated in our community, the domestic violence issues from people being stuck at home for extended periods."
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