Australians will need to get COVID booster shots annually “for the foreseeable future” to combat CCP Virus, according to the country’s Pharmacy Guild.
Trent Twomey, the president of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA), warned that people may need to get booster shots every 6 to 12 months to keep more deadly variants at bay.
“The question is what booster and what interval we need to get that booster, whether it’s every six, nine or 12 months. Those decisions need to be based on evidence and facts and at the moment that is an evolving space,” he told Nine newspapers.
Twomey noted that Australians may need to wait until 2023 to “reach some sort of steady-state vaccination program,” which will be similar to the annual flu shot.”
“In time, we will treat COVID like many other viruses that have been around for decades, and a COVID-19 shot will just be another element of the Australian vaccination program,” he said.
From Nov. 8, COVID booster shots will be available for all adult Australians six months after they got their second dose. Around 1.7 million people will be eligible for a booster dose by 2022, a move making Australia the second country in the world after Israel to offer boosters to all ages.
Australia has reached the 80 percent full vaccination rate last week, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison praising it as “another magnificent milestone.”
At the state level, however, only New South Wales, Victoria, and the Australian Capital Territory have reached this number.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), the country’s medicine and therapeutics regulator have approved Pfizer as a booster dose.
Pfizer booster shots will be given to people even if they had other vaccines for their first two doses. For those who have an allergic or adverse reaction to Pfizer, the AstraZeneca vaccine will be given instead.
While boosters are not required for international travel, states and territories will decide whether to make it mandatory for residents to be fully vaccinated.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews suggested last month that booster shots may be needed for those who are fully vaccinated to retain their freedoms.
“A month before your six months is up, then you will get a message and your vaccination certificate, the thing that gets you the green tick. You’ll be prompted to go and book a time to go and have your booster shot,” Andrews said.
“There may be state clinics in that or it might be all done through GPs and pharmacies, that hasn’t been worked through yet. We’re happy to play our part, though. So it’ll be about the maintenance of your vaccination status.”
Meanwhile, South Australia Premier Steven Marshall has announced that eligible residents in the state will be able to get COVID boosters at government vaccination hubs from December.
“Access to a booster dose of the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine is yet another layer of protection available to South Australians,” he said on Friday.