A booster dose might be needed to keep your tick green from Covid-19 vaccination in the future, Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy said.
Booster shots are being rolled out across Australia amid warnings that vaccination from initial vaccinations is declining over time.
The federal government distinguishes these “booster” doses from the third dose of vaccine that some immunocompromised people need to achieve a standard level of protection.
In a Senate select committee inquiry into the government’s handling of the Covid pandemic on Tuesday, Labor Senator Katy Gallagher asked what would constitute a “fully vaccinated” in the future.
Murphy said that for now any third dose will be logged and those with two doses will keep their ticks – but that could change.
He said the Australian Immunization Technical Advisory Group (Atagi) had so far “felt that there was insufficient evidence to say that a person who has received two doses needs a third. to maintain her fully immunized status “.
“So at the moment we consider everyone with two doses to be fully vaccinated,” he said.
“If in the future the data suggests that primary immunity wanes so much that people really need a third dose, that might change.”
Much of Tuesday’s hearing was devoted to discussing the misinformation being disseminated about Covid, vaccines and extending the rollout to children.
He also learned that there are now 37 cases of the Omicron variant in Australia. Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly confirmed that only 10 of those cases were associated with overseas travel.
None of them had serious illness or had been hospitalized, he said, except for one child who was under observation.
There was “no definite signal” that the Omicron is more severe than the other variants, Kelly said.
He also said that as the pandemic continues and new variants emerge, they will run out of letters of the Greek alphabet to give them their names and instead look to the stars and constellations.
In June, the World Health Organization launched the naming convention with the Greek alphabet to avoid stigmatizing countries in which variants have been found. There are still nine letters left.
Lt. Gen. John Frewen, head of vaccine deployment in Australia, said there would be no supply issues with regard to booster shots as more and more people are eligible – six months after their second dose.
He also defended an increase in the wastage rate, with 4.32% of vaccines now wasted compared to 1.2% earlier in the rollout.
Frewen said it was often because when vaccines were scarce, doctors waited until they had enough patients before opening a multidose vial, while now they opened them for anyone who wanted one, and the rest. then had to be discarded.
He said there was still a vaccination gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians of around 15%. This gap varies between states and communities, but overall Indigenous Australians are disproportionately forced to live with Covid, a Guardian Australia investigation has found.