Australian officials are requiring disability support workers to get a third dose of an approved COVID-19 shot or risk losing their jobs.
Previously, the recommendation was two vaccine doses for disability workers, but due to new advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), this has been updated to include the third or booster shot.
Although data is not yet available for the Omicron variant, ATAGI said that the booster would be required to be ‘up to date’ and have a ‘direct impact on reducing transmission to people with disability receiving supports by preventing infection in workers.’
According to the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), people with disabilities may have chronic conditions or weaker immune systems and face challenges following COVID-safe behaviours such as wearing masks and washing hands.
They are also reliant on intense support that requires them to be in close proximity with family members, carers, and support workers.
“It is therefore important to take reasonable and proportionate steps to mitigate the likelihood of COVID-19 being introduced to a person with a disability,” AHPPC said in a statement on March 17.
Meanwhile, Australia is about to reach a critical milestone of vaccinating 95 percent of the population but have currently been seeing an uptick of CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus cases, with states registering the highest number of daily infections in more than a month.
New South Wales reported over 30,000 cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. However, the number included 10,000 cases from Sunday and Monday due to a data error.
As winter approaches, Health Minister Greg Hunt has indicated that the government is considering making a fourth vaccine dose compulsory for older Australians, ahead of the surge to protect people who might have had waning efficacy from their original boosters.
“It’s more likely than not that there will be a booster recommended for those above a certain age; 65 is the most likely age,” Hunt told reporters at a press conference.
“We’re expecting that advice from ATAGI within the next three weeks, if not earlier. They’ve been doing deep research on immunity, on waning and on the situation around the world.”