CANBERRA: The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ATAGI) declared on Thursday that persons 50 and older should receive a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, while individuals 30-49 may also choose to receive it.
Previously, only those who were over 65, disabled, residing in an assisted living facility, and immunocompromised people were eligible for a second booster dose.
The fourth dose will now be available to 7.4 million more Australians, according to Health Minister Mark Butler, providing further protection in advance of a predicted winter spike in the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants. This will lessen the load on Australian hospitals and the healthcare system in the coming months, he said in a statement. "This will assist give further protection from severe disease against the emerging spike of Omicron sub-variant infections."
The fourth dose should not be given to healthy persons under the age of 30, according to ATAGI, because it is unclear whether the advantages outweigh the dangers in this population. The number of Covid-19 patients has grown recently, according to ATAGI. It advised precautions like mask use, stating that a fourth dose alone would not be sufficient to stop the infection from spreading.