Australians aged 18 and over can now get the Moderna vaccine as a booster shot against the coronavirus as an alternative to a Pfizer dose, Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Sunday.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has given approval to the Moderna vaccine as a booster shot, and like Pfizer, it can be used irrespective of what vaccine a person received for their primary course of vaccination.
ATAGI has also confirmed in updated advice that booster doses can be provided from five months after completion of the primary course, given the likelihood of ongoing transmission of the Omicron and Delta variants.
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,” Hunt said in a statement.
He said more than 670,000 Australians had already received more than two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The Moderna booster dosage is half that of the primary course dosage.
Hunt and Health Department secretary Brendan Murphy will receive their COVID-19 booster shots on Sunday.
More than 40 million COVID-19 vaccines had been administered in Australia, with more than 93 percent of eligible Australians aged 16 and older having received a first dose and more than 89 percent 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 percent.
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, [and] the domestic violence issues from people being stuck at home for extended periods.”
By Colin Brinsden