News Coronavirus Experts concerned over low booster uptake

Experts concerned over low booster uptake

COVID booster
Epidemiologists are concerned that many Australians are spurning their third and fourth booster jabs. Photo: AAP Photo: AAP
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Pathologists are sounding the alarm over the low uptake of coronavirus vaccine boosters as the national immunisation group suggests a fourth dose for some Australians.

The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia says third doses are particularly low in Queensland and NSW even as COVID-19 cases rise.

“With winter commencing, it is important for everyone that they are fully up to date with all relevant vaccinations,” RCPA fellow Professor William Rawlinson said.

“The RCPA recently highlighted that it is very likely that we will experience far more influenza cases in Australia this winter. This, combined with the current, rising trend of COVID-19 cases is likely to put an extraordinary strain on the healthcare system.”

Western Australia has the highest uptake of third doses at about 80 per cent, while Queensland is the lowest at 58 per cent. Nationally, about two-thirds of eligible Australians have received a booster.

On Wednesday, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation expanded eligibility for a second booster to people with health conditions or a disability.

Previously, the fourth dose has only been available to people 65 and over, those in aged or disability care, the severely immunocompromised or Indigenous people aged over 50.

Acting Health Minister Katy Gallagher urged eligible Australians to get their fourth shot.

Deaths with the virus almost trebled in NSW on Thursday, when 30 fatalities were recorded compared with 11 in the previous 24-hour reporting period.

Victoria registered 19 deaths on Thursday, up from 17 on Wednesday, while Queensland’s fatalities with the virus also climbed to 19, an increase from 10 the previous day.