Mixing and matching COVID vaccines will be “inevitable” when booster shots are made available to the general public, according to a leading epidemiologist.
Infectious diseases expert Peter Collignon said it was likely some Australians would get a different vaccine brand for their third dose compared to their first two when booster shots were approved.
“How you best mix and match we don’t know yet, but we can get data from North America,” Professor Collignon told the Seven Network on Tuesday.
“Summer is likely to have much less transmission than next winter, so we have got about four or five months to get an answer for this.”
The comments come following meetings of the medical regulator’s vaccine committee and the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation on Monday discussing whether to approve booster shots.
While booster shots for coronavirus vaccines have already been made available to severely immunocompromised Australians, they are yet to be approved for the general public.
The medical regulator will be considering data surrounding booster shots from overseas before a final decision is made.
It is likely mRNA vaccines, such as Pfizer and Moderna, would be predominantly used for the third doses.
Professor Collignon said work was still underway to determine whether the booster shots would be rolled out to everyone, or only certain population groups.
“We will have the data and be in a good position before next winter, which is our next danger period, to know whether we have to give the doses to the whole population or just those who are selective,” he said.
“The whole thing about boosters and how much we need, we don’t have that data yet, even in countries where they are giving boosters.”
Australia is edging closer towards a national vaccine rate of 80 per cent double dosed.
The latest figures have shown 73.4 per cent of Australians over 16 have received two doses of a vaccine, while 86.8 per cent have received one.
The ACT is leading the charge with 87.9 per cent of its over 16s fully vaccinated, while Western Australia is the only jurisdiction that has not yet reached 60 per cent double dosed.