Australian Health Body Says 4 to 5 Jabs May Be Needed to Remain ‘Fully Vaccinated’

Australian Health Body Says 4 to 5 Jabs May Be Needed to Remain ‘Fully Vaccinated’
A woman closes her eyes after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at Sydney Road Family Medical Practice in Balgowlah, in Sydney, Australia, on Jan. 10, 2022. (Jenny Evans/Getty Images)
Marina Zhang

The head of Australia’s technical advisory body to the health minister has not ruled out changing the definition of what constitutes being fully vaccinated or “up to date” to four or five jabs.

The chair for the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), Nigel Crawford said that his organisation will continue to monitor data from other countries currently administering four doses at a Senate hearing on Feb. 16.

ATAGI announced a change of definition for “fully vaccinated” from two doses to three doses on Feb. 10, and individuals yet to receive their third jab have six months’ to receive a booster.

Crawford, however, said on Feb. 16 in front of the Senate Estimates committee that some immunocompromised patients have already been recommended four doses.
Studies in the UK have shown that some immunocompromised patients do not have an adequate immune response to the virus with some activity only detected after the fourth dose.
However, with the recent US study showing reduced effectiveness of all COVID-19 vaccines over time, it is uncertain how many more shots will be recommended.

When asked if the ATAGI could reassure Australians that the organisation will not require Australians to get four or even five doses to be considered up to date, Crawford said he could not promise that.

“Countries like Israel have already recommended the fourth dose and we need to look at that international data and see the impact, and what the new variant vaccines look like,” he said.

Germany also recommended a fourth vaccine rollout during the Omicron wave in Dec. 2021.

Crawford argued as the ATAGI is constantly reviewing the evidence, therefore “that advice may change over time. It is a possibility but there’s no current recommendation to that effect.”

The news comes as states around Australia are removing their restrictions limits as the border is expected to reopen on Feb. 21.

Victoria and New South Wales (NSW) announced the removal of two square metre density limits on Feb. 17.

QR check-ins for retail venues and schools will also be removed but will be present for hospitality and entertainment venues for Victoria whereas, for NSW, check-ins will only be required for nightclubs and music festivals with more than 1,000 people attending from Feb. 18.

Unvaccinated international travellers and those that are fully vaccinated coming to Victoria will also have their hotel quarantine period halved from a 14-day period to 7 days whereas no changes have been announced for NSW.

Whilst Queensland has not removed density limits, check-ins are removed for areas that do not require proof of vaccination, such as essentially shopping venues like supermarkets.

Restrictions for mask mandates are also expected to ease for Victoria and NSW in the coming weeks.

As of Feb. 17, 51.4 percent of Australians aged 18 and older have received their boosters, with 79.16 percent of Australians fully vaccinated as per the new definitions, 48.8 percent of children aged 5 to 11 (pdf) have received their first dose.
The AAP contributed to this report.
Marina Zhang is a health writer for The Epoch Times, based in New York. She mainly covers stories on COVID-19 and the healthcare system and has a bachelors in biomedicine from The University of Melbourne. Contact her at [email protected].
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